Help Arrives For Flood-Prone NJ Homeowners [AUDIO]
Almost seven months after Superstorm Sandy, there's some good news for New Jersey homeowners who have had continuing flooding problems in their homes.
"What I'm happy to announce is the federal government has approved giving us $300 million dollars to buy out homes, and we're going to start right here in Sayreville," said New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, during his latest town hall meeting.
Christie made the announcement to an overflow crowd in Sayreville.
"To start out with, we're going to go after 350 homes in Sayreville and South River, and we'll be going after other homes, some at the Jersey Shore, some up in the Passaic River Basin that have been perpetually flooded. What we're going to do is, homes will be razed and the areas will be maintained as open space that can handle future flood waters."
He also said property appraisals and title work are going to begin in June.
"The offers to willing selling homeowners will begin in July, and the first closings will be expected by Labor Day, and all of the closings will be done by next spring - so within a year everything will be done."
Christie added a special buyout team has been put together at the DEP - that will work to get the paperwork portion of the process done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
"I am not in favor of using eminent domain to kick people out of their homes- I don't favor that," Christie explained. "I want people to go willingly, but people will have to get together as a neighborhood and say, 'we're ready to go.'"
"Raise your hands and come forward to the DEP - because what I want to do is eliminate those neighborhoods, so we don't ever have to worry about it again."
The Governor also pointed out this buyout program is something that will continue to be evaluated, and potentially more money will be added so more homes can be bought.
A special Blue Acres Hotline has been created. Call 609-984-0500 to get more information.