Those who applied for grant money to help raise their homes should have an answer by next month, according to officials.
The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs had an increase in the number of Cape May County homeowners seeking a federal grant to help raise their home to the required elevations after a series of public outreach meetings, according to Lisa Ryan, a spokeswoman for the DCA.
In July, Gov. Chris Christie announced that thousands of homeowners in counties affected by Hurricane Sandy could be eligible for up to $30,000 in federal money to help fund house lifting projects. A total of $100 million was set aside for the grants.
In advance of the Sept. 15 deadline to apply for the money, the DCA held a series of public information sessions in Cape May County to inform more homeowners about the grant money. Before that, only a fraction of the expected number of applications had come in from Cape May County. According to Ryan, the state had enough money to help about 600 homeowners in Cape May County.
Contacted after the application deadline had passed, Ryan said the state had seen an uptick in the number of applications from Cape May County, but did not give a total number of applications. She said on Sept. 20 that the state will begin notifying homeowners of the status of their applications in October.
Called the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the program is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and is part of the “reNew Jersey Stronger” initiative. The program is separate from the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation program, which could provide up to $150,000 for each eligible elevation project.
According to officials, applicants can only participate in one of the grant programs, which are each administered under DCA. While there is overlap in the eligibility for each program, the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program is aimed at reducing damage from future storms, which means that owners who saw no damage from Sandy, but are in a flood zone, could see grant money to help raise there living areas above the flood elevation.
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