By Jim Donovan: The Christie Administration today announced that Sandy-impacted homeowners have until August 1, 2013 to apply for the Homeowner Resettlement and Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Programs.
After August 1, applications will no longer be accepted for the two grant programs. Eligible homeowners can apply for grant assistance online at www.renewjerseystronger.org, by phone at 1-855-SANDYHM (1-855-726-3946), or in person at any one of the Housing Recovery Centers open in each of the nine counties most affected by Superstorm Sandy.
In the New Jersey Disaster Recovery Action Plan that details how the State will utilize $1,829,520,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funding, $600 million has been allocated for the RREM Program and $180 million for the Homeowner Resettlement Program. With this funding, it is estimated that between 3,500 and 4,000 RREM applicants and approximately 16,000 Resettlement applicants will receive a grant award.
The initial application period for the grant programs ended on June 30, 2013, with 15,444 applications submitted for the Resettlement Program, which provides a $10,000 grant to encourage Sandy-impacted homeowners to remain in or return to their primary residence, and 12,255 applications submitted for the RREM Program, which provides up to $150,000 for homeowners to repair, elevate or rebuild their primary residences.
All applications received during this period were in the first group processed. To ensure that all homeowners who applied during the initial application period had an equal chance to be selected, the order in which applicants were selected was determined by a computerized random ordering process. Grant selection was then prioritized for homeowners with the most damage (i.e., substantial, severe and major), whose primary residences are in the most impacted counties (i.e., Atlantic, Monmouth and Ocean), and who have the greatest financial need.
Starting July 8, all homeowners who applied for the Resettlement Program and/or the RREM Program by June 30th were notified of the status of their grant application. The letters they received informed them either that they have been selected to receive a grant award, they did not meet the eligibility requirements, or they have been wait-listed pending an additional federal funding allocation.
In accordance with federal requirements, 60 percent of the funds for the Resettlement Program and 70 percent of the funds for the RREM Program must be allocated to low- to moderate-income (LMI) households.
Applications received after June 30th will be considered after all the applications from the initial application period have been processed, including those that were placed on the wait list. An announcement on future allocations of CDBG Disaster Recovery funding is expected this fall by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Locations of the nine Housing Recovery Centers are as follows:
- ATLANTIC: 500 Scarborough Dr., Suite 101, Egg Harbor Twp
- BERGEN: 140 E. Ridgewood Ave., 1st Floor, South Tower, Paramus
- CAPE MAY: 3860 Bayshore Rd., Suite 5, North Cape May
- ESSEX: 153 Halsey Street, 2nd Floor, Newark
- HUDSON: 438 Summit Ave., 6th Floor, Jersey City
- MIDDLESEX: 1 Metroplex Dr., Edison
- MONMOUTH: 3 Paragon Way, Suite150, Freehold NJ
- OCEAN: 750 Vassar Ave., Suite 1, Lakewood Twp
- UNION: 150 Morris Ave., Suite 101, Springfield