FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday July 25, 2013

Christie Administration Hosts Superstorm Sandy Recovery Night at Lakewood Blueclaws Baseball Game

Department of Community Affairs and Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency Reach Out to BlueClaws Fans on New Housing Programs Available for Sandy-Impacted Families

LAKEWOOD, N.J. – In an effort to reach Sandy-impacted residents, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA), an affiliate of the DCA, today highlighted the Sandy Homebuyer Assistance Program and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) Elevation Program at the Blue Claws Minor League Baseball Stadium in Lakewood. Both programs are part of the ‘reNew Jersey Stronger’ housing initiative that is aimed at assisting in the long-term housing recovery of communities hard hit by Superstorm Sandy. This outreach effort provided an opportunity to reach BlueClaws fans in Monmouth and Ocean counties to inform them of available resources to elevate their homes or to become new homeowners.

“Both the DCA and HMFA are pleased to be able to provide information on the various recovery programs that are available to renters and homeowners affected by Superstorm Sandy,” said DCA Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III, who is Chair of the HMFA. “As part of our Department’s on-going recovery efforts, this baseball game is a great way to spread the word in a fun environment for families in Central and South Jersey.”

The $25 million Sandy Homebuyer Assistance Program, administered through the HMFA, will help low-to-moderate income households to purchase a home in one of the nine counties most impacted by Superstorm Sandy. To reduce the purchase price of a home, eligible applicants can receive an incentive of up to $50,000 in the form of an interest-free, forgivable mortgage. This means that as long as the applicant abides by the program terms, including maintaining the home as their primary residence for five years, the mortgage loan will be forgiven. There are no monthly payments on this mortgage. All applicants’ income must be less than or equal to 80% area median income and they must have a credit score of 620 to be eligible for the program. Applicants that have not sustained damage from the storm are still eligible apply.

“We are excited to be able to offer the Sandy Homebuyer Assistance Program to New Jersey families,” said HMFA Executive Director Anthony Marchetta. “This program will not only provide an affordable alternative to leasing, but will create a market for rebuilt and restored homes.”

The $100 million HMGP Elevation Program, which is part of the ‘reNew Jersey Stronger’ housing initiative that was launched in May 2013, is a reimbursement grant program designed to help homeowners with the elevation of their primary single-family residences to meet the requirements of the flood insurance risk maps in flood-prone communities. The program is limited to the Sandy-impacted communities of Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union. There are no income requirements for the program and FEMA registration is not required in order to apply. Homeowners can receive a reimbursement of up to $30,000 for incurred elevation costs.

Homes targeted for buy out under the state’s HMGP acquisition program are not eligible to participate, and people who have already begun elevation work cannot apply. An application can be made to both the DCA’s Homeowner Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program and the HMGP Elevation Program, but homeowners may receive a grant award from only one of the programs.

Applicants who receive grant awards through the RREM Program are not eligible for the HMGP Elevation program. The application deadline is September 15, 2013.

"The DCA and the HMFA have done great things for residents of Ocean and Monmouth Counties in the wake of Sandy and we are excited to partner with them on Thursday night," said BlueClaws General Manager Brandon Marano. "We look forward to what should be a fun evening at the park and an informative one for those in need."

The Sandy Homebuyer Assistance Program is part of the New Jersey Disaster Recovery Action Plan that outlines how the State will utilize $1,829,520,000 in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The HMGP Elevation Program is being funded through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which is focused on reducing the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and enabling mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster.

The DCA and HMFA are currently accepting applications for these programs and other Sandy Recovery programs. For more information, log on to, call the Housing Assistance Hotline at 1-855-SANDYHM (1-855-726-3946), or visit one of the nine Housing Recovery Centers where representatives can assist with the application process. Applicants can also visit specifically for the Sandy Homebuyer Assistance Program.

Lisa Ryan
Sean Conner
(609) 292-6055