FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, March 8, 2016




Public Hearing on March 22 Will Outline Plans to Provide $12.5 Million to Rental Assistance Program, $14.5 Million to Sandy-Impacted Local Governments for Essential Services and $24 Million to Business Loan Program to Serve All Eligible Sandy-Impacted Applicants 

Trenton, NJ – The Christie Administration today announced a proposal to reallocate $51 million in Superstorm Sandy recovery funds to add funding to three programs in order to help address the unmet needs of homeowners, businesses and communities hard hit by the worst natural disaster in New Jersey history.

The State proposes transferring $12.5 million to the Rental Assistance Program (RAP), which provides temporary rental assistance for Sandy-impacted homeowners participating in the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program or the Low- to Moderate-Income Homeowners Rebuilding Program while they are displaced by construction. The RAP Program initially provided $1,300 a month for rental assistance for up to nine months, and the State recently expanded the program to provide rental assistance for rebuilding homeowners for up to 21 months.

The State would also shift $14.5 million to the Essential Services Grant (ESG) Program to help Sandy-impacted local governments provide public safety, public works, and education services. Many storm-affected communities have seen their ratable bases largely recover, and in some cases exceed, pre-Sandy levels. However, a few hard hit communities the State has assisted with past rounds of ESG Program funds are still struggling while their ratable bases recover. This final round of ESG Program funds would target assistance to those communities.

Last, the State would transfer $24 million to the Stronger NJ Business Loan Program. This would allow the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA), which administers the loan program, to fully serve all eligible applicants in the program.

Importantly, these proposed reallocations would not affect any existing commitment of recovery funds to any individual, business, local government or project. The $12.5 million to be transferred to the RAP Program would be shifted from the RREM Program. At less than 1 percent of the total allocation to the RREM Program, this transfer would not affect the ability of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), which administers the program, to fully serve all eligible RREM applicants. The ESG Program funds would be shifted from the Sandy Homebuyer Assistance Program ($4.5 million) and the Unsafe Structures Demolition Program ($10 million). These programs still would be able to fully serve all applicants or address all eligible structures. The $24 million transferred to the Stronger NJ Business Loan Program would be shifted from the Stronger NJ Business Grant Program. By that transfer, EDA would satisfy all eligible applicants in both programs.

Before the State can reapportion the funds, the New Jersey Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Action Plan, which details the various activities the recovery funds support, must be amended to reflect the proposed changes. The Action Plan and the 17 previously adopted amendments to the Plan guide the State’s use of the funding provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to address disaster relief, long-term recovery, housing and infrastructure restoration, and economic revitalization in the areas most impacted by Superstorm Sandy. Action Plan Amendment 18, which proposes the three funding transfers and clarifies potential uses of CDBG-DR program income (e.g., principal and interest payments on CDBG Disaster Recovery funded loan programs) to more fully and clearly align with permissible uses in HUD regulations, is subject to a 30-day public comment period that must include a public hearing.

The public comment period begins today, March 8, 2016, and closes at 5:00 p.m. on April 7, 2016. The public hearing is scheduled from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 22, 2016, at Brookdale Community College, 765 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, Monmouth County. Individuals can comment on the proposed amendment at the public hearing, by submitting their comments via email to or by mailing comments to the attention of Constituent Services, Sandy Recovery Division, NJ Department of Community Affairs, 101 South Broad Street, P.O. Box 823, Trenton, NJ 08625. All comments are treated equally regardless of the means of submission. After the public comment period closes, DCA will formally respond to the public comments and then will submit the proposed amendment to HUD for review and approval.

Finally, the State received a waiver from HUD to expand the New Jersey Energy Resilience Bank (ERB), which finances resilient energy systems, such as combined heat and power, fuel cells and solar storage capabilities, at critical facilities so they can continue operations should the electric grid fail. Specifically, for-profit critical facilities, such as for-profit hospitals and long-term care facilities, as well as privately-owned water treatment plants now are permissible recipients of ERB funds. Memorializing the change permitted by the HUD waiver, which will directly benefit the communities these facilities serve, requires a Substantial Amendment to the Action Plan. Action Plan Amendment 19, also subject to the same public comment period and public hearing as Action Plan Amendment 18, serves this purpose.

Action Plan Amendments 18 and 19 can be viewed in English and Spanish at More information on the programs affected by the proposed Action Plan Amendments can be found at

Lisa Ryan
(609) 292-6055