Why the Delay in Sandy Housing Aid? [POLL/AUDIO]
NEW JERSEY 101.5
New Jersey has distributed just over one-third of the federal dollars aimed at housing assistance after Superstorm Sandy.
Housing groups say the state isn't moving fast enough, and too many people are still struggling.
"It's time for people to get their lives back in order - the way they were before the storm," said Nina Arce with the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. "There are people who are living in the second story of mold-infested homes, a year later."
Arce's group was part of an analysis that showed New Jersey had only distributed 24 percent of its housing aid, but the numbers were outdated, and the figure released Tuesday by state officials offered an updated look.
The federal government awarded New Jersey $1.16 billion in housing aid this past spring.
"We've always said that Congressional inaction on the front end approving the disaster recovery funds would lead to delays on the back end," said Lisa Ryan with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. "The state is also required to adhere to strict federal requirements on the flow of funds to eligible recipients."
Ryan said her department understands that help can't come soon enough for the many Sandy-impacted families, "but we want to assure New Jersey residents that we are working hard every day to get housing recovery assistance to people who need it."