Home Elevation Program Taking Applications
By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Brick Township. July 22, 2013
New Jersey residents in the nine counties hardest hit by Sandy can now apply for grants to elevate their homes.
Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin says the hundred million dollar program will provide grants of up to $30,000 to help residents protect their homes from future flooding.
“You cannot have started your work already on the home. That’s a federal requirement. You have to have waited to start it. Once you’ve got your money together, because most of the elevation is going to be above 30 thousand, you have to either have insurance or money of your own to put into it in a lot of cases.”
Barbara Burke says the storm surge put five feet of water from the nearby Barnegat Bay into her home on Valencia Drive in Brick. She says she needs to elevate the house but can’t do it on her own.
“I’ve only had one estimate and that came in at 87 thousand. So that’s a little bit more than I can afford. I’ve been here since 1973. This is my home. This is where I raised my children. I don’t want to leave.”
Right across the street, Sandy’s storm surge destroyed Ken Sosnowski’s home just six months after he moved in.
He’s seeking a grant so he can elevate the house when he rebuilds.
“We’re normal people. We scrimped and saved and cashed in some things. We got two kids in college, but we always wanted to live on the water. This was our dream. It still is. We love it down here.”
Brick Mayor Steve Acropolis believes many people in his town will be applying for the grants.
“We’re probably looking at somewhere between four to six thousand houses that will have to be elevated at some point down the road. When the maps actually come out officially in August that starts the period of appeals so at that point we’ll get a firm number.”
The grant program is expected to assist about 2700 homeowners. Applications can be made until Speember 15th.