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

Sandy elevation program backlog will ease by end of summer, top NJ official says

Sandy elevation program backlog will ease by end of summer, top NJ official says (via NJ.com)

New Jersey’s top environmental official said today he expected a backlog of applications for a Hurricane Sandy elevation program to be cleared by the end of the summer. Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said roughly 2,…

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Posted: April 28th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Christie Administration, DEP, Environment, FEMA, Flooding, NJ Department of Environmental Protection | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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

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 »

Sweeney Rejects Using COAH Funds For Sandy Rebuilding

Sweeney: RCAs “put poor white folk and poor black folk out of town”

Hornik: “No one in Trenton can honestly say that COAH is working”

IMG_9153 (640x391)Senate President Sweeney rejected out of hand an idea brought forth by Marlboro Mayor Jonathon Hornik this week that could potentially release $184 million in dormant funds for the benefit of Superstrom Sandy victims.

Hornik called for the reinstatement of Regional Contribution Agreements (RCA), in order to unlock $184 million in COAH funds to help residents impacted by Superstorm Sandy rebuild their homes in an OpEd piece published on MMM and PolitickerNJ.

RCAs were a practice that was in place to build affordable housing in New Jersey from 1985 through 2008 under the Fair Housing Act, whereby communities that had raised affordable housing funds through development could transfer those funds, and their obligation to build affordable housing within their own community, to other communities with an immediate need.  The legislature and Governor Corzine outlawed RCAs in 2008.

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon issued a statement commending Hornik  and said,”When the Democrat leadership in Trenton killed the RCA program it was bad, short sighted policy that many of us knew would come back to bite us. Its flaws are now magnified by the plight of Sandy victims as many towns struggle with the economic burdening of rebuilding.”

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Posted: March 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: COAH, Declan O'Scanlon, Jon Hornik, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Sweeney’s ‘Sandy Bill of Rights’ tour to continue in Keansburg

Sweeney’s ‘Sandy Bill of Rights’ tour to continue in Keansburg (via NJ.com)

TRENTON — As Hurricane Sandy victims continue to complain about New Jersey’s recovery efforts, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney will continue this week to push legislation he says is designed to help them. Sweeney (D-Gloucester) plans to make…

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Posted: March 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Keansburg, Stephen Sweeney, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Hurricane Sandy victims make do in trailers as they wait to rebuild

Hurricane Sandy victims make do in trailers as they wait to rebuild (via NJ.com)

Tina Napalo lived in a bungalow-style house on Fourth Street in Union Beach for more than 20 years. “I didn’t have everything,” said the 40-year-old mother of four, but, “it took me a long time to get what I had.” Then Hurricane Sandy hit.…

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Posted: March 16th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Christie Administration, Highlands, Hurricane Sandy, Keansburg, Middletown, Monmouth County, Obama Administration, RREM, Sea Bright, Superstorm Sandy, Union Beach | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Menendez Rebuts Christie Over Blame for Stalled Sandy Relief Aid

Menendez Rebuts Christie Over Blame for Stalled Sandy Relief Aid (via NJSpotlight)

Who is to blame for the slow pace of New Jersey’s recovery from superstorm Sandy? Gov. Chris Christie blames federal red tape and regulations for holding up the distribution of aid money to storm victims in New Jersey. But New Jersey’s senior U.S.…

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Posted: March 13th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Bob Menendez, Chris Christie, Christie Administration, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »