Federal Flood Insurance Reformer Quits

IMG_3871 (640x427)Brad J. Kieserman, the federal official assigned to reform the National Flood Insurance Plan and to re-open thousands of Superstorm Sandy related claims amid allegations that thousands of homeowners were short changed, has resigned his post in order to take a job at the Red Cross, according to a report on Newsday.

A 28 year employee of the federal government, Kieserman took on the reform of NFIP only 3 months ago in February. FEMA annouced four months ago that it would settle every disputed case but only about a dozen checks have been issued.

Appearing in Hoboken last week with U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, as well as Highlands residents Kerry and Jamie Gowan who where representing the 70,000 New Jersey residents with claims to be reviewed by FEMA, Kieserman pledged that the government would do better in the tasks of “people caring for people.”

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Posted: June 2nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: FEMA, Hurricane Sandy, Monmouth County News, New Jersey, RREM, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Sandy victims just want to go home

assetContentSTAFFORD — If Joe Karcz had gone with his gut, he’d be home by now, instead of staring at his empty lagoon-front lot in Stafford Township. A disabled construction worker, Karcz, whose home was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge, first thought he’d rehab it on his own, but then decided to get the funding… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: May 29th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Christie Administration, Hurricane Sandy, RREM, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Sandy victims just want to go home

Sandy bill clears Senate; Sweeney says storm victims ‘deserve answers’

0054A bill that aims to address ongoing problems raised by homeowners and advocates about New Jersey’s handling of Hurricane Sandy relief aid cleared the state Senate on Monday. The bill ( S2825), which was introduced by Senate President Stephen Sweeney in March, requires the state to give applicants in certain grant programs personalized timelines showing when… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: May 19th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Hurricane Sandy, RREM, Stephen Sweeney, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Sandy bill clears Senate; Sweeney says storm victims ‘deserve answers’

Why Christie Got RREM’d In Iowa

assetContentIn her last job, Amanda Devecka-Rinear’s office was in an historic brick Georgian mansion on DuPont Circle in Washington D.C., with rooftop views of Embassy Row. Her office now is in a fishing shack on Cedar Bonnet Island, with back porch views of Barnegat Bay and kitchen views of a boarded-up house across the sand-packed street.… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: March 11th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: 2016 Presidential Politics, Chris Christie, Hurricane Sandy, RREM, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Why Christie Got RREM’d In Iowa

‘We need help desperately,’ residents tell state officials at Sandy hearing

assetContent (3)TOMS RIVER — The state plans to spend most of the half billion dollars in Hurricane Sandy recovery funding allocated to New Jersey in the final round of aid from the federal government on affordable rental housing programs and grants for people who want to rebuild. But residents who spoke at a public hearing today in… Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 7th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Christie Administration, Hurricane Sandy, RREM, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Highlands Hero Gets RREM’d

After Closing On A RREM Grant, DCA Says A New Home For Vietnam Vet Is Not In The Cards

By Art Gallagher

Russell Card Jr removes his "family crest" from his family's home in Highlands in preparation for demolition . Photo via facebook

Russell Card Jr removes his “family crest” from his family’s home in Highlands in preparation for demolition . Photo via facebook

A Vietnam Veteran from Highlands and his 65 year-old wife had their expectations of a new home  crushed last week when their RREM approved builder informed them that a stop work order had been placed on their project by the Department of Community Affairs, with no explanation.   The family had prepared their house for demolition, based upon promises from DCA/RREM, and now fear they will be without a home.

Russell Card, a 72 year-old Vietnam Veteran from Highlands closed on his $150,000 RREM grant on July 28.  He put up his $18,000 escrow to cover the difference between the cost of the project and the amount granted.  Card, his wife Maureen and son Russell Jr, 35, prepared their home (which was built in the 1890’s and in the family since 1933) for demolition.   They moved most of their belongings into a POD on their immaculately maintained property and moved themselves into an apartment the size of the living room in the Bay Avenue house they have lived in since 1986.  By mid-September all the utilities were disconnected at the house and it was ready for demolition before their new home would be built.  The funding for the new home was the RREM grant, a gap grant of $30,000 from Gap Funding Initiative and $17,762 that was remaining from a $55,000 grant Mrs. Card had received from her employer, CareOne, after Sandy filled their home with eight feet of water on October 29, 2012.

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Posted: October 1st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Christie Administration, DCA, Department of Community Affairs, FEMA, Flooding, Highlands, Housing, Hurricane Sandy, Monmouth County, RREM, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

N.J. Congressman: Sandy funds still needed for infrastructure, businesses

N.J. Congressman: Sandy funds still needed for infrastructure, businesses (via NJ.com)

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – While public officials welcomed the news that the latest round of Hurricane Sandy recovery money will cover the New Jersey’s unmet need for housing funds, one congressman says that the funding does not go far enough. U.S. Rep…

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Posted: May 30th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, Hurricane Sandy, RREM, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

NJ has distributed less than 25 percent of Sandy aid

NJ has distributed less than 25 percent of Sandy aid (via NJ.com)

About a year after the federal government allocated $1.8 billion to New Jersey to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, the state has distributed less than a quarter of the disaster relief aid, according to a new report. State officials, however, claim they…

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Posted: May 4th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Christie Administration, RREM, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , | Comments Off on NJ has distributed less than 25 percent of Sandy aid

The Politics Of Disaster Relief

By Art Gallagher, artvg@aol.com

When disaster hits, natural or man made, Americans put aside their differences and come together to handle the emergency.

We saw it with 9-11. Most recently in New Jersey we saw it with Superstorm Sandy.

Once the emergency is over and the federal money is flowing, the politics…partisanship and patronage starts.  We saw it with 9-11. We’re living it with Sandy.

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Posted: April 13th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: 2014 Congressional Races, 2014 Elections, 2014 U.S. Senate race, 2016 Presidential Politics, 2017 NJ Gubernatorial Politics, Bob Menendez, Chris Christie, Chris Smith, Christie Administration, Congress, Cory Booker, Democrats, Department of Community Affairs, Department of Homland Security, Frank Pallone, George W Bush, Housing, Hurricane Sandy, Jennifer Beck, Jersey Shore, NJ Democrats, NJ State Legislature, RREM, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Politics Of Disaster Relief

Monmouth And Ocean Senators Ask Congressional Delegation For Sandy Help

Six state Senators representing Monmouth and Oceans Counties have written to New Jersey’s U.S. Senators and Members of Congress asking for help in correcting inequities and inefficiencies in the federal government’s response to Superstorm Sanday.

In a letter dated March 31, Senators Jennifer Beck and Joe Kyrillos of Monmouth County, Robert Singer, Christopher Connors and James Holzapfel of Ocean County and Sam Thompson of Middlesex raised six issues concerning Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the Small Business Administration (SBA), FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and the Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation(RREM) grant program.

With all those agencies and initials, how could anything be going wrong?

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Posted: April 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: FEMA, RREM, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »