House members ask HUD to address concerns of Sandy-impacted homeowners still awaiting help

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WASHINGTON – A group of New Jersey members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Michael Boots, acting chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality requesting that they attend a New Jersey congressional delegation meeting to hear out questions and concerns about why the process for helping homeowners recovering from Hurricane Sandy is taking so long.

The lawmakers want to discuss what can be done to assist 4,000 homeowners who still are not in their homes nearly a year and half after the October 2012 storm, and what might be done to properly modify any other procedures that may be delaying reconstruction.

Reps. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02), Jon Runyan (NJ-03), Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) and Leonard Lance (NJ-07) signed the letter. The areas represented by the congressmen include severely damaged regions in Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth and Ocean counties and other areas.

“We are writing today to express our deep concern over the ongoing post-Sandy disaster recovery in New Jersey, and to request a meeting with you, lawmakers from New Jersey’s shore area, and representatives from Governor Christie’s recovery team to discuss these critical issues,” the letter stated. “Nearly a year and a half after Superstorm Sandy and fourteen months after the president signed the first Sandy relief package releasing the federal funds, far too many of our constituents remain out of their homes, stuck in limbo while attempting to navigate the grant application and reimbursement process.”

The New Jersey Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation program received more than 15,000 applications and currently has approximately 4,000 displaced, eligible homeowners on its waitlist who apparently forfeit reimbursement if they begin reconstruction without having first completed the requisite historic and environmental reviews. Additionally, there is concern that the third round of Community Development Block Grant funds may be directed away from those residents still awaiting funds to repair their homes, they said.

Click here to read a copy of the letter.

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