(TRENTON) – An Assembly panel on Monday cleared legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary Schaer, Vincent Mazzeo, Bob Andrzejczak, Raj Mukherji and Annette Quijano to help homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy, who have committed to rebuilding their properties and staying in their communities, avoid losing their homes to foreclosure as a result of state funding distribution backlog.
The bill (A-4139) would prevent the foreclosure of any mortgage obligation on any real property that was damaged by “Superstorm Sandy,” the major storm that made landfall in New Jersey on October 29, 2012, for a three year period immediately following the enactment of the bill. The bill will affect residents who have been approved under the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation, and Mitigation (RREM) Program yet have not received funding from the state.
“The administration clearly has not adequately or appropriately addressed the needs of those impacted by Hurricane Sandy despite the legislature’s continued support for these homeowners,” said Schaer (D-Bergen, Passaic), who is also Chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. “This legislation will give families the much-deserved opportunity to get back on their feet, and continue rebuilding their homes and stabilizing their communities.”
Schaer said the 36-month period will give property owners whose homes still bear damage from “Superstorm Sandy” some financial breathing room as they try to rebuild their homes and their lives. The sponsors also intend to continue to work with stakeholders on this bill as it moves through the legislature.
“The threat of foreclosure is a harsh reality for New Jersey’s families still struggling with home repairs as a result of the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “It has been a tough road for many families who have had to navigate insurance companies, FEMA guidelines, and state grant funding requirements. This legislation gives these residents the assistance they need and have requested for some time now.”
“For many it seems, the rebuilding process is a never-ending story,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland). “We knew from the beginning this would be a long and arduous process for homeowners, especially those who have suffered extensive damages to their homes. Now many Sandy-affected families are facing possible foreclosure and this legislation is necessary to help those who truly need it.”
“Homeowners must be able to rely on us as they continue to rebuild their homes and their lives,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “This bill will provide homeowners the breathing room necessary to get back on track.”
“Many of New Jersey families have yet to be provided the money needed to rebuild their homes due to the painfully slow distribution of Sandy funding,” said Quijano (D-Union). “This legislation will give affected residents more time and help them to avoid possible foreclosure.”
The measure was released by the Assembly Housing Committee in an afternoon committee. It will now be further considered by the Assembly Speaker.