Source: Press Release -
Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande visited Ocean Grove today to talk about the one year anniversary of Supertstorm Sandy. Nearly 12 months ago the most severe storm in the state’s history made land devastating homes and forever changing thousand of New Jerseans lives.
“We’re obviously in a better place than we were this time last year,” said Beck. “We’ve worked tirelessly to help those in need and return their lives to what was, but it hasn’t been without challenges. Governor Christie has done an admirable job leading our state during one of the most trying times and our job is not done. While $30 million of $600 million in federal funding for the state’s Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) program is expected to be released by the end of this month, that’s not good enough. The Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) has not made it easy to help our constituents, the process needs to be simplified and expedited. The National Flood Insurance Program has also let us down, in the immediate aftermath of Sandy there were promises made that have not been kept.”
The RREM program, designed by the state, is distributing money from HUD through grants of up to $150,000 for approved primary homeowners. Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable III said that the second round of HUD funding is expected in December. It is unclear how much the second pot will be but those on the RREM waiting list would get first crack at that money. Beck, Angelini and Casagrande are urging HUD to streamline the process for Sandy victims.
“Over the past year, we have made incredible progress in our recovery from this historic storm,” said Angelini. “However, our area is still facing many challenges and too many people are still struggling to put their lives back together. As we mark the one-year anniversary of Sandy, now is a good time to recognize the incredible resiliency of the affected residents while, at the same time, reaffirming our commitment to each and every person who was impacted by this devastating storm.”
“Our District experienced some of the worst destruction from Superstorm Sandy and one year later it is gratifying to see so much rebuilt and restored” says Casagrande. “There has been significant progress made with federal government support, but there remains much to be done. Flood insurance premiums are too high and the program has failed our families in many cases. I will continue to work to hold insurance companies and FEMA accountable so that our residents and businesses get the help they need.”