It’s been almost two years since Superstorm Sandy and NJ residents are still dealing with the aftermath. With the assistance of New Jersey Department of Protection (DEP’s) Buyout Program, which purchases flood‐prone properties, and Federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) – Elevation Program, which assist homeowners with costs incurred in elevating their homes to protect against future flooding and storms, there is still hope. Other Sandy recovery programs include DEP Blue Acres Acquisition Program, which is acquiring 1,300 properties in Sandy-impacted areas. Blue Acres purchases homes that will be demolished and the land will be permanently preserved as open space for conservation and/or for the public to use as recreation. The preserved land will also function as a natural buffer against future storms and floods. 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.[i]
The DEP is estimating that they will use $300 million in federal disaster recovery funds to purchase properties affected by Sandy, and in towns that have repeatedly flooded. [ii] The first buyouts occurred in the towns of Sayreville, South River and Woodbridge, all of which were damaged by flooding from the Raritan River, South River and the Raritan Bay. The Blue Acres Program is expanding to East Brunswick, Newark, and Lawrence Township and is currently evaluating other Sandy‐impacted communities throughout the State.
The Federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) Elevation Program recently granted awards for properties in 29 municipalities, bringing the total of approved post-Superstorm Sandy elevation grant awards to 460, for an estimated $12 million. 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. New Jersey has committed $100 million in HMGP funds provided by the FEMA to elevate approximately 2,700 primary residential structures in the nine counties (Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union).i It has been a rough two years for those affected by Superstorm Sandy, but thankful for the grant money, many NJ residents are looking out their windows and seeing a brighter future at a higher elevation.