Pallone Tours Sandy-Ravaged Sea Bright, NJ to Mark One Year Anniversary of Superstorm
WASHINGTON D.C.—Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) and Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long toured Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright, NJ to view the progress made in rebuilding the borough in the year since Superstorm Sandy damaged so many of its buildings and businesses. Sea Bright was one of areas hardest hit by Sandy when it made landfall last year. Pallone and Long discussed the toll the Sandy took on the Borough, rebuilding efforts and lessons learned from the storm about preparedness, response and the role of federal, state and local governments. Pallone also used the occasion to announce that New Jersey will be receiving $1.46 billion from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the second round of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the Sandy relief package.
“I am pleased that HUD will be announcing today that New Jersey will receive $1.46 billion in the second round of CDBG funds,” said Pallone. “This money is critical to aiding homeowners, businesses and communities with repairing damage they sustained during the storm.”
Pallone and Long began their tour of Ocean Avenue at Sea Bright’s Borough Hall and continued north toward the Sea Bright Firehouse, where they observed the remnants of Sandy’s destruction and improvements made in the year since the storm made landfall.
“It’s hard to believe that it has been a year since Sandy battered New Jersey and changed our lives,” said Pallone. “Sandy devastated the Jersey Shore, and a year later, we are still working to rebuild. While there has been significant progress, there is still much to be done. Sandy taught us many important lessons about how we must improve the way we prepare for and recover from natural disasters. We simply cannot afford to make the same mistakes in the future.”
Superstorm Sandy was one of the costliest and most destructive natural disasters in American history, with New Jersey’s Sixth Congressional District withstanding some of the most significant damage. Congressman Pallone, who led the charge to bring much needed federal aid to New Jersey in Sandy’s aftermath and has continued to provide countless hours of assistance to residents trying to recover from the storm, outlined several areas of concern with the government’s response to the disaster and possible remedies he plans to pursue such as:
- Improving temporary housing solutions
- In the aftermath of the storm, there was an immediate need for temporary housing for those whose homes were badly damaged or destroyed. Unfortunately, while there was some temporary housing relief, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not offer enough housing options, such as FEMA trailers. Many who sought temporary shelter with family or friends were considered to have had their housing needs met, regardless of their actual long-term situations. Pallone has called on FEMA to address the issue of insufficient housing for displaced residents and revise their definition of who merits temporary housing after disasters.
- Eliminating delays in processing claims with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
- Many homeowners were forced to wait far too long to have their NFIP claims processed. The NFIP claims filing process was complicated and involved countless hurdles for homeowners. Pallone called on FEMA to address the massive backlog of claims, and the process was expedited, but the system needs a permanent fix. Pallone has also called on FEMA to establish an “NFIP Consumers Bill of Rights” and to do a better job of informing homeowners about what their policies actually cover.
- Ending the politicization of disaster aid
- It was unacceptable that the Sandy disaster aid package was held up and used as a tool for political bargaining. Pallone believes that the creation of a dedicated extreme weather and disaster fund could provide a possible solution that would take politics out of the process and get victims the funding they need right away.
- Strengthening infrastructure
- Sandy shed light on the fragility of our aging infrastructure and the need for serious overhaul of our roads, railways, and energy, water and sewage systems. Some of the funds Pallone pushed for in the Sandy relief package will be used to make infrastructure improvements, but he has also called on the federal government to make new investments to gird us against similar failures in the future.