FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, October 23, 2014

Two-Year Sandy Anniversary Marks Over $1 Billion In Housing Assistance Out The Door Or In Pipeline

Two-Year Sandy Anniversary Marks Over $1 Billion In Housing Assistance Out The Door Or In Pipeline
Helping New Jersey Families Rebuild Their Homes:
As New Jersey nears the two-year mark of Superstorm Sandy, thousands of families across the state are making progress towards rebuilding and returning to their homes with the assistance of federal grants administered by the Christie Administration.
•         Today, more than $1 Billion in federal housing assistance is out the door or in the pipeline to Sandy-impacted families.
•         More than 8,800 homeowners have been approved for grants to repair their homes through the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program;
o    Of the 4,400 homeowners who already signed a grant award, 3,570 are in the construction process from pulling permits and repairing damage to elevating structures and obtaining temporary and final certificates of occupancy.
•         With a third round of federal CDBG funds anticipated in the coming months, the State expects to award grants to all eligible homeowners currently enrolled in RREM – the state’s largest Sandy home rebuilding program.
•         All 18,561 eligible homeowners have received or will soon receive a $10,000 check from the $215 million Resettlement Program, an initiative aimed at helping homeowners to defray costs and remain in their home county while rebuilding their Sandy-damaged house.
Focusing Assistance On Families That Need It Most:
The Christie Administration is making housing assistance for low and moderate income families a top priority.
•         The Department of Community Affairs is preparing to launch a Low and Moderate Income (LMI) Homeowners Rebuilding Program. With a budget of $40 million, the program will focus specifically on assisting low and moderate income families hard hit by Sandy in repairing and reconstructing their homes.
•         $102 million has been allocated to help with living expenses for individuals and families still recovering financially from Sandy through the Working Families Living Expenses Voucher Program (also known as SHRAP).
o    To date, about 24,500 individuals have received assistance.
•         More than 460 units of affordable housing for low and moderate income households have been approved through the Landlord Incentive Program;
•         Nearly 250 low and moderate income first-time homebuyers have received interest-free, forgivable mortgages to help buy homes in Sandy-affected communities through the Sandy Homebuyer Assistance Program; More than $12 million has been spent or obligated so far.
•         More than $25 million in zero-interest loans have been approved to provide 170 affordable housing units in Sandy-impacted communities through the Neighborhood Enhancement Program; 13 Neighborhood Enhancement Program projects are under construction in the nine most impacted counties. Of these, five will complete construction by December 1 and begin leasing affordable housing units.
•         $7.3 million dollars of the $10 million total have been approved to non-profit affordable housing developers for the revitalization of Sandy-affected areas through the Predevelopment Loan Fund For Affordable Rental Housing;
•         More than $169 million has been committed to repair and construct affordable multi-family rental housing units through the Fund For Restoration Of Multifamily Housing (FRM). 22 FRM projects are currently under construction, providing more than 1,450 units of affordable housing units.
•         More than 450 Sandy-damaged housing units that will be rented to low-to-moderate income families are being repaired through funding from the Landlord Rental Repair Program.
Elevating Homes To Protect From Future Storms:
In order to protect New Jersey communities from future storms, the Christie Administration launched a $100 million grant program to assist homeowners elevate their homes. Targeted at homes in the nine counties hardest hit by Sandy, the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) Elevation Program provides up to $30,000 of reimbursement for eligible homeowners to elevate their primary single-family residences.
•         DEP has identified 2,700 residential properties for elevation grants under its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
•         So far, the DEP has awarded nearly 1,050 elevation grants in 38 towns across five counties. These grants total nearly $32 million.
•         The Christie Administration has submitted more than 1,200 elevation applications for NJ Homeowners to FEMA for approval.
Giving Homeowners The Option To Sell Sandy-Damaged Property
Through New Jersey’s existing Blue Acres Program, the Christie Administration is giving homeowners the option of selling their properties damaged by Superstorm Sandy in tidal areas of New Jersey. The program is designed to give homeowners the ability to choose the best option for their individual situation.
•         500 voluntary buyout offers have been made, and 322 willing sellers have accepted.
•         The State has been evaluating more than 1,300 homes in repetitive flooding communities and over 719 applicants have already been approved.
o    So far, 185 homes have been purchased in four Middlesex County municipalities: Woodbridge, Sayreville and South River and East Brunswick.
o    86 homes have been demolished: 63 in Sayreville and 23 in South River.
•         The Christie Administration is working to aggressively identify and reach out to additional eligible residents to inform them of buyout opportunities and assist them with the application process.
Cutting Through Insurance Red Tape:
One of the biggest frustrations many New Jerseyans have faced throughout the recovery process is delays and hassles over their claims with private insurance companies. The Christie Administration has fought for residents to cut red tape and speed up the process to get residents the help they need.
•         Over 99 Percent of the 472,242 non-flood, state-regulated private insurance claims filed for homes, businesses and automobiles after Sandy have been closed with payments totaling more than $4.41 billion to New Jersey policy holders.
o    Almost $3.9 billion in flood insurance claims have been paid out through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
•         More than $3.5 billion in flood insurance settlements have been paid to New Jersey residents and businesses, after the Christie Administration pressed federal leadership from the Flood Insurance and Mitigation Administration to pay out;
•         66.5 Percent – or 472 of the 709 – of mediation sessions have been settled as part of the Christie Administration’s mediation program to help residents cut through red tape.