Last February, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced that the state would funnel most of the $1.8 billion in federal funds into grants to residents and businesses whose properties were severely damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. .
“Notice I’m saying grants not loans.” Christie declared. “We know a lot of our homeowners already have debt.”
But much of that grant money has yet to reach residents, especially those who applied for the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program, which provides up to $150,000 for homeowners to rebuild. The state Department of Community Affairs, which administers the grants, said that of the 15,100 homeowners who applied, only 100 have actually received the RREM money. Meanwhile, most people who applied for federal loans have received their money.
Coultner Jones and Janet Babin of WNYC, a partner of NJ Spotlight, take a look at one key reason why parts of the Jersey Shore are still virtual “dead zones” one year after the devastating storm.