FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Christie Administration Announces Significant Change To Housing Recovery Program

RREM Modification Will Help Sandy-Impacted Homeowners Quickly Pay for Immediate Construction Costs



 

Trenton, NJ – In an important development that will help thousands of New Jersey residents get back in their homes faster, the Christie Administration today announced a significant change to the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program. The move allows Sandy-impacted homeowners in the RREM Program who are using their own contractor to get grant funding quicker for initial construction costs. It eliminates the requirement that previously forced homeowners to provide proof of construction costs before submitting payment requests.

“This is welcome news for New Jerseyans rebuilding from Sandy, and will help people get back in their homes faster,” said New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Richard E. Constable III. “As I’ve traveled across our state, I’ve heard concerns from residents frustrated about some of the more burdensome regulations on these Sandy recovery programs. We are taking a big step forward and getting rid of a requirement that has stood in the way of progress, and we are grateful to the Obama Administration for approving this change.”

The new policy, which was recently approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), went into effect Monday, March 10th and applicants will receive a letter informing them of the change. With this change, RREM grant awardees who are using their own contractor can request an advance payment for 50 percent of their RREM grant. Once a RREM grant awardee’s contractor invoices or provides receipts for eligible costs that exceed the initial 50 percent advance, the grant awardee may submit up to two additional payment requests for the remaining balance of their RREM grant.

RREM grant awardees must certify that they have a general contractor or design professional under contract and DCA must verify that the contractor is licensed in New Jersey and not debarred from work. At the time of the final payment request, DCA will conduct a property inspection to ensure that RREM funds were used properly and that items paid by the RREM grant award are complete.

The RREM Program, which is the state’s largest housing recovery program, provides grants to Sandy-impacted homeowners to cover rebuilding costs up to $150,000 that are not funded by insurance, FEMA, U.S. Small Business Administration loans, or other sources. For an overview of the RREM Program, go to www.renewjerseystronger.org/rrem/.