The amounts being thrown around are often dizzying to outside observers — $3.5 billion here, $300 million there — but for those counting on help recovering from Sandy, specific details are very welcome. The most recent programs announced by the Christie administration are two that total $780 million — $600 million for homeowner reconstruction and rehabilitation and $180 million for homeowner resettlement.
The RREM program (reconstruction, rehabilitation, elevation and mitigation) will provide up to $150,000 to help homeowners repair damaged primary homes. The idea is to fill the gap between the cost of repair and insurance, FEMA, or SBA payouts. In order to be eligible, homeowner must have an adjusted gross annual income of less than $250,000.
The $180 million homeowner resettlement program is aimed at owners of Sandy-impacted homes looking to remain in the nine counties that were most seriously affected by the storm. This program will provide $10,000 grants to eligible homeowners to encourage them to remain in their existing primary homes or resettle in the same county. To be eligible, homeowners must have sustained at least $8,000 in damages or more than one foot of flooding on the first floor of their residence as a result of Sandy. They also must agree to remain in the county of their damaged residence for three consecutive years following the grant. The idea behind this program is to help stabilize communities and home values.