Contact Us
Make My Homepage

Christie Promises To Rebuild All Eligible Homes

All New Jersey homeowners who were put on a waiting list for the state’s signature post-Superstorm Sandy housing program will receive funding to rebuild, Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday.

Gov. Christie at town hall meeting in Manahawkin
Gov. Christie at town hall meeting in Manahawkin (David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ)

Christie said at a town hall-style meeting in Stafford Township, just inland from Long Beach Island, that a coming allocation of federal disaster aid announced last week will be enough to fully fund the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation program, known as RREM.

About 5,400 homeowners have already been promised grants of up to $150,000 each to rebuild homes badly damaged in the October 2012 storm. But some 6,000 others were preliminarily found to be qualified for the grants but remain on waiting lists.

Christie’s administration has made rebuilding damaged homes the centerpiece of its recovery effort. But the going has been frustratingly slow for many homeowners.

The money the state received last year to launch the program was enough to cover only about half the eligible homes. And the firm that ran the application process was fired earlier this year for performance issues that have not been made public. An advocacy group says some would-be applicants may have been excluded because their local governments did not provide them with needed documents.

At his town hall meeting Wednesday, Christie was thanked by one homeowner for the program that’s rebuilding her home.

 

Governor Chris Christie holds his 121st Town Hall in Manahawkin
Governor Chris Christie holds his 121st Town Hall in Manahawkin (Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen)

But he also heard from Sandra Smith, who applied for funds last year to elevate her family’s home in Avon Beach on Long Beach Island. She said officials lost her application materials three times, told her she qualified for negative $2,000, and then lost her paperwork when she appealed. She said customer service agents keep telling her what she was told previously is wrong.

“Every single time I talk to anyone from RREM, I ended up feeling like Alice falling down the rabbit hole,” said the 76-year-old retiree. “Nothing makes sense.”

Sandra Maglio, who lives in Beach Haven West, did not get a chance to speak with the governor but said afterward she received a $56,000 grant but because of administrative problems has not been able to get the work done. Now she fears the grant money will expire.

Christie has pledged to fix the administrative problems as he expands the program to more homeowners.

The state learned last week that it is in line for a third federal allocation of state-controlled disaster relief money of $882 million. That would bring the state’s total to $4.2 billion.

The state has not yet developed a full plan for using the third allocation, but Christie said he intends to use part of it to help the remaining 3,000 homeowners on the waitlist.

Christie said Wednesday that the state would soon he starting environmental and historical reviews for everyone on the waitlist for the program — something that could make streamline the process for them.

“We didn’t do it before because we didn’t know we were going to have the money,” he said.

 

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)

 

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://nj1015.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on New Jersey 101.5 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on New Jersey 101.5 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!