News Article

Some Residents Struggling To Recover From Sandy

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Atlantic City. August 15, 2013

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Simone Dannecker (center) and Lee Ann Newland (right) testify at Atlantic City hearing (photo by Phil Gregory)

Some New Jersey residents say they’re still struggling to recover from Sandy.

During a four-hour hearing in Atlantic City, members of the Senate and Assembly Environment Committees heard from residents who are not getting the help they need despite all the grant programs the state is offering.

Union Beach resident Simone Dannecker says filling out all the paperwork to apply for the grants is extremely time consuming.

 “It’s ridiculous. I mean if we’re working class blue collar citizens and we’ve contributed to our taxes and out property taxes, why do we have to be caught up in this red tape? Why can’t it be prove your residency, prove you own the home, and let’s get it moving.”

Dannecker she’s not sure whether she’ll continue to fight to keep her home or just walk away.

Neptune resident Lee Ann Newland says the terms of the application process seemed to change, and she was unable to get grant money to keep her Sandy- damaged home.

 “Watching our own governor on TV with his family pretending that all is well all over the shore makes us sad. Perhaps local business owners along the shore should be the stars of these ads as opposed to our governor who should hold accountable the agencies claiming to help the residents in their recovery.”

Newland says she put her home on the market and is hoping to be able to sell it for enough money to pay off her mortgage.

Senate Environment Committee chairman Bob Smith is disturbed by the problems homeowners expressed.

“You have citizens being treated like dogs by the state of New Jersey trying to get help, being sent to a bureaucratic maze, filling seven or eight application forms, being told that it’s not enough. It’s an outrage.”

Smith says he’ll pressure the state Department of Community Affairs to deal with  residents’ concerns.

“We’re going to put the pressure on to make sure that they do respond to it because of the New Jersey need to know what’s really going with this storm relief which doesn’t sound like it’s very good.”

NPR

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