By Ian Bush

by Ian Bush, Cleve Bryan

BRICK, N.J. (CBS)  —  Governor Christie has announced $100 million in federal grant money to help Jersey Shore residents protect their property in severe storms like Sandy.

Homes with longer legs fared better, on the whole, than did their shorter neighbors in the hurricane.

“There are many things we learned in the aftermath of Sandy.  One of them is that home elevation significantly reduces the risk of property damage,” said Governor Christie.

Christie said homeowners in Atlantic, Cape May, and seven other coastal counties can get up to $30,000 to elevate their property.

“This is an important step in making us stronger than the storm,” Christie said, noting that 365,000 homes were damaged by Sandy eight months ago. “This is going to take us another year and a half to two years, everybody. It just is.”

When divvied up, the money will go to about 3000 people affected by the hurricane. While the cost to elevate can be more than double the grant for some larger homes, Christie said it’s worth it.

“It’s going to be a benefit in the long term,” he explained. “Not only in terms of protecting property, but also in terms of costs in the long term for flood insurance.”

Applications for the FEMA elevation grants are available through mid-September at, by calling 1-855-SANDYHM, or at a Housing Recovery Center.

There are no income requirements, and no FEMA registration is mandated.

Christie said the house must be homeowner’s primary residence. It must be single-family, owned and occupied by applicant at the time Sandy hit, and in the nine-county 100-year floodplain (based on new FEMA maps).

Critically, elevation construction can’t start before you apply,  and homeowners targeted for a buyout can’t get in on this deal.

From the grants to the ‘Stronger than the Storm’ ads, Christie finds a common goal.

“We want to rebuild what you had and make it stronger,” said the governor. “If we don’t start now, we may miss the chance.”

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