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Point Beach's Sandy-Slammed Homeowners Nearly Shut Out From Hazard Grants

by Patricia A. Miller

The Christie administration recently announced that 109 Hazard Mitigation Program Grants will be made to homeowners along the Jersey Shore to use for home elevation costs.

Homeowners in the following Ocean County towns received the current awards:

• Brick - 15

• Toms River - 10

• Lavallette - 3

• Harvey Cedars - 1

• Point Pleasant Beach - 1

• Stafford Township - 1

• Little Egg Harbor - 1

A small number of homeowners out of the 2,700 statewide who applied have been approved to receive the funds - up to $30,000 for reimbursement for home elevation costs.

More than half of the homeowners who applied are in Ocean and Monmouth counties, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection, which has taken over administering the HMPG awards.

New Jersey has committed $100 million in HMGP funds provided by the federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to elevate approximately 2,700 primary residential structures in the nine counties deemed by HUD as most impacted by Superstorm Sandy.

The counties are Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union.

The HMPG elevation program provides up to $30,000 for eligible recipients for work associated with home elevation - including engineering, construction, permits and utility work. The money is reimbursed after the work is completed. Homes must be deemed structurally sound to be eligible.

"These grants provide important financial assistance to residents who are working to elevate their homes to provide protection against future storms and floods," said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. "In addition to moving people and property out of harm's way, elevating homes will lower flood insurance premiums for homeowners by helping them comply with FEMA flood maps."

DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese stressed that more HMPG awards are in the pipeline and should be granted soon. The voluminous paperwork FEMA requires is part of the holdup, he said.

"We try to dot every I and cross every T," Ragonese said

Homeowners who have already elevated may have tapped into other funding sources, such as Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) funds from their flood insurance, the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) program, their own private funds or secondary mortgages, said Ben Witherell, a DEP analyst.

"They will have to find some funding to be able to do the project first and then get reimbursed," Witherell told Patch.

Eligible homeowners who have elevated in the following towns will eventually receive the HMPG funds, the DEP said.

Atlantic City, Brick, Brigantine, Egg Harbor, Harvey Cedars, Highlands, Keansburg, Lavallette, Little Egg Harbor, Little Silver, Longport, Lower Township, Lyndhurst, Manasquan, Margate, Middletown, Monmouth Beach, North Wildwood, Oakland, Ocean City, Point Pleasant Beach, Rumson, Sayreville, Sea Isle City, Stafford, Stone Harbor, Toms River, Union Beach and Ventnor, according to the DEP.
Brandy the Dog May 13, 2014 at 06:27 PM
But you'll except the revenue generated by these folks.
Rick Ricky May 14, 2014 at 07:46 AM
I am confused...What revenue generated by these folks?
Brandy the Dog May 14, 2014 at 08:13 AM
The huge amount of tax revenue generated by 22,000 communities that live and reside and have businesses 'close to the water' .
E.Nagle Moylesworth III May 14, 2014 at 11:49 AM
KN and RR - I suppose anyone helped by FEMA should be denied tax payer funds because they choose to live in tornado alley, or near the Mississippi, or in earthquake prone Los Angeles? Would you relocate the boardwalk or the motels a few miles inland? If your house burns, should the tax payer supported Fire Co provide you with their services?
Mortimer Snerd May 14, 2014 at 06:23 PM
Only 1 out of HUNDREDS of damaged homes in Point Beach and Point Borough... Christie is a big failure. He's sitting on a billion dollars in federal aid in Trenton!

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