News Article

Feds Approve NJ's Plans For Sandy Grants

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
HIghlands. April 29, 2013

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Governor Chris Christie and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan at news conference in Highlands (photo by Phil Gregory)

The federal government has approved New Jersey’s plans to spend $1.8 billion in federal grants on rebuilding and recovery from Sandy.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan says two thirds of the money will be used for grants to help homeowners rebuild and elevate their homes.

 “For a family that’s sleeping on a couch at a relative’s place for the last six months what this announcement today means is that they have hope of getting back in their home very soon.”

Governor Christie says the application process for homeowners will begin next month.

“Instead of just handing people checks, we’re going to have lists of approved contractors. Those contractors will bid to take care of your house. When you accept a bid from that contractor, we then will pay that contractor so that we know the work is getting done here in New Jersey, the work is getting done in New Jersey, and we’re not just handing checks to people to move someplace else.”

One Ocean County resident whose home was extensively damaged by the storm is thrilled the state’s plans were approved and is anxious to apply for a grant.

Margaret Quinn says her family was getting depressed with having to live in a small apartment. She says they’re glad to now be back in their Toms River home.

 She is still frustrated about the time it’s taking to get federal grant money to elevate her home.

 “I want to move forward but my hands are tied, and I’m being paralyzed because I’m waiting for the state to pull through for me. So hopefully things can start moving. I just wish it happened a little sooner, but I will accept anything that they’re saying right now and start the process to continue to heal.”

Quinn says she has no problem with the state's requirements to obtain a grant.

She is concerned about who will pay the costs for her family to live somewhere else while her home elevation work is being done.

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