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Sandy Financial Frustration

Though Hurricane Sandy devastated the shoreline a year ago, New Jersey residents are still waiting for funding for reconstruction. Over 360,000 houses need repairs in New Jersey; $60 billion dollars in funding for Hurricane Sandy’s recovery was approved in January, 2013. The grant money goes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other natural disasters that could occur. New Jersey has $600 million for reconstruction of housing. Only one hundred and thirty residents who finished the application process and signed the grants are close to receiving those grants. The issued amount for “construction and the elevation for homes” is $150,000. There are grants for $10,000 that have been given to over 14,000 residents, yet they cannot use it on their houses.

Hammerman & Gainer Inc. is a company that provides services during the recovery from a disaster. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company has been causing problems for New Jersey Sandy victims. The problems include the company not answering phone calls and processing paper work.

The grant system is designed to avoid the type of fraud that occurred after Hurricane Katrina with people taking the money and leaving. Therefore, when the grant money is available, people do not get the money directly. The grant goes in a bank account, and only contractors that have already been approved receive the money. According to Governor Christie, the reasons for the delay are “the federal red tape and the Congress for taking three months to approve the aid package.”

While the Department of Community Affairs thinks the process of receiving aid is fast, the process seems slow to residents because of the multiple steps–such as being approved and inspected to receive the grant–which can take months. The residents of the Jersey shore were astonished by the fast-paced recovery of the Boardwalk and businesses. Governor Christie also agrees with the residents that the process was slow, “I wish that the federal government would allow us the flexibility to get you aid more quickly,” said Christie.

 

Source:  ABC News, Wall Street Journal

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