Pallone: Federal Government Will Now Allow Reimbursement to Sandy Victims for Repairs Made

Jul 30, 2013 Issues: Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey

Long Branch, NJ – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) announced today that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has amended its policies that were blocking many New Jerseyans who previously paid to rebuild or repair their homes after Superstorm Sandy from obtaining Community Development Block Grants (CDBG grants).  Earlier this month, Pallone called attention to this problem in a letter to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and asked for the Secretary to revise the policy.

In the immediate aftermath of Sandy, many homeowners in New Jersey were told they could begin the process of rebuilding their homes and that the funds spent for these purposes would be eligible for reimbursement with federal CDBG funds provided to the state of New Jersey.  However, this was not the case for some homeowners whose requests for reimbursement were later rejected because of a HUD regulation requiring environmental reviews for homes that sustained damage in excess of 50% of the property’s value.  Unfortunately, homeowners were not made aware of this regulation before they were told that they could begin to rebuild.

HUD made the change to this policy in response to a request from Congressman Pallone in a letter sent to Secretary Donovan earlier this month.  The new policy will give the State of New Jersey flexibility to reimburse homeowners with CDBG funds after they had spent money on repairs and reconstruction activities.  They would still have to get environmental reviews completed, but they will no longer have to have been initiated before they spent money out of pocket. 

“This new policy means that more New Jerseyans are on the road to getting the grants they were promised,” said Pallone.  “It’s absolutely critical that we work together in this rebuilding process, and I’m pleased that HUD listened to my concerns and answered them.”