Pallone Leads New Jersey House Delegation in Request to Grant Financial Relief for Families Still Recovering from Sandy
Washington, DC – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) today led an appropriations request letter to provide relief for families currently required to pay back disaster relief funds they received after Superstorm Sandy. Many homeowners were encouraged to take benefits only to be told later they were required to repay some or all the funds. The letter was signed by the entire New Jersey delegation in the House of Representatives.
“Superstorm Sandy hit our shores over eight years ago, causing major destruction up and down the East Coast of the United States. Many of the families and municipalities impacted by the storm are still struggling to rebuild, a matter that has only been exacerbated by the unprecedented economic and public health crisis our country is currently facing,” the lawmakers wrote. “During this difficult time of economic uncertainty and record unemployment, federal agencies are unfairly asking for repayment on tens of millions of dollars in loans and grants from Sandy.”
“In August of 2016, I received a letter demanding that I pay back over $35,000 by August 2019. When I opened that letter, I was at a loss for words. How could this be? I followed the rules and did I was instructed to do. I have received a notice every month since then. I am on a fixed income, so I don’t have $35,000 laying around to give back to the federal government,” said Fran Baronowitz from Ventnor City.
“During the recovery from Superstorm Sandy, we complied with everything that was required of us to receive funding to rebuild our home. Then we were blamed for errors in the paperwork that were not our fault and asked us to return $7,000,” said Chuck Griffin from Little Egg Harbor Township. “All I want is to put closure on the storm. We shouldn’t be held accountable for mistakes we didn’t make.”
The lawmakers requested that appropriators grant the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development the authority to waive the recoupment of federal funds owed by New Jersey homeowners in the aftermath Superstorm Sandy through no fault of their own. Last year, the New Jersey delegation secured a one-year reprieve in those recoupment efforts for debt owed to the federal government. The lawmakers also requested cancellation of unforgiven Community Disaster Loans (CDLs) made to municipalities throughout New Jersey to help them recover from the storm.
A copy of the letter is available HERE.