Christie Administration Unable to Clearly Update Relief Efforts
(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) released the following statement after questioning the acting Department of Community Affairs commissioner about problems with Superstorm Sandy relief funding at Wednesday’s Assembly Budget Committee hearing:
“The inability of the Christie administration to answer basic questions about Sandy relief is very troubling. It’s no wonder so many residents are so frustrated. I fear the Christie administration doesn’t have a grasp of where the relief effort even stands at this point.
“Consider, for instance, that the nine housing relief programs for which there are awards and disbursement data on the DCA recovery website have an aggregate allocation of about $1.9 billion, but almost two and a half years after the storm, only about $1.3 billion has been awarded. Even less than that – $757 million – has actually been disbursed to the public. Yet, we got no clear explanation for the continued delay in getting relief money to Sandy victims.
“It was stunning to hear that of the 8,400 or so victims actively engaged in the Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation Program, only about 900 or so have finished the process. That equates to only about 10 percent homeowners in our largest grant program. That’s unconscionable.
“The administration also was not able to detail the number of residents still displaced by the storm, nor was it able to clearly explain why rental housing aid awarded to counties doesn’t seem to correlate with actual damage that was incurred. These are all basic questions.
“The administration’s inability to clearly account for the Sandy relief effort is very disturbing. Helping the Sandy victims is more than holding press conferences. It seems to me that the real work of helping people just isn’t getting done the way it should.”