TRENTON – The state has announced the distribution of 236 more federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) awards to assist homeowners with costs incurred in elevating their homes.
The home elevations are being done to protect against future flooding and storms.
During the latest round of grant awards, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved applications from the state Department of Environmental Protection for properties in 38 municipalities in five counties, bringing the total of approved post-Super Storm Sandy elevation grant awards to 696, totaling approximately $21 million.
The latest round of elevation awards will be made to property owners in Atlantic, Monmouth and Ocean counties – which bore the brunt of damage from Super Storm Sandy – and to some homeowners in Cape May and Middlesex counties.
A first round of awards was approved in April for 26 homeowners in Brigantine in Atlantic County, and subsequent grants have been awarded to property owners in six counties.
The 236 new awards announced Wednesday, Aug. 27, include those made to homeowners in Monmouth County in Brielle, Highlands, Keansburg, Little Silver, Long Branch, Manasquan, Middletown, Monmouth Beach, Neptune, Oceanport, Rumson, Sea Bright and Union Beach.
“These grants will help families in many towns that were devastated by Sandy to elevate their homes and be much more resilient to future storms,’’ Gov. Chris Christie said. “We continue pressing hard to get the grants out as quickly as possible to make sure those families who are still recovering from Sandy get the help they need to be better protected in the future.’’
Under the HMGP Elevation Program, eligible recipients receive up to $30,000 for a broad range of work associated with home elevations, including engineering, construction, permits and utility work. The money is reimbursed after the work is completed. Homes must be deemed structurally sound to be eligible.
“These grants offer vital financial assistance to our residents who are elevating their homes to offer more protection against future storms and flooding,” DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said. “In addition to moving people and property out of harm’s way, elevating homes can lower flood insurance premiums for homeowners by helping them comply with FEMA flood maps.”
The DEP has submitted more than 1,200 post-Sandy elevation applications to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and expects more approvals in the near future. More than half of the homeowners who have applied for elevation grants are in Ocean and Monmouth counties.
A series of community meetings with the latest grant recipients will be held in the near future to help guide them through the final steps of the grant award process.
New Jersey has committed $100 million in HMGP funds, provided by FEMA, to elevate approximately 2,700 primary residential structures mostly in the nine counties deemed by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as most impacted by Super Storm Sandy – Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union.
Another key Sandy recovery program at the DEP is the Blue Acres Acquisition Program, which is acquiring 1,300 properties in Sandy-impacted areas and other areas that have sustained repetitive flood losses.
The DEP also is partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to advance beach and dune construction projects along the state’s entire coastline that will reduce risk to life, property and infrastructure.