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Christie Fails to Keep Promise to Help Lower Income Families with Sandy Relief According to Document

Posted by Laura Denker on October 23rd 2013

A mere 37 percent of $10,000 in resettlement grants for families severely impacted by Sandy have been allocated to low and moderate income households. Governor Christie had promised in his request for federal funds for the program to allocate 60 percent to the New Jerseyans who need it most, according to documents recently relinquished by his Administration. See summary here.

Only 24 percent of over 16,000 eligible low and moderate income households have received the $10,000 checks; according to the State’s data, only 4,051 checks have been distributed to low and moderate income households. Yet 6,914 higher income households received the checks, which constitutes 36% of eligible higher income homeowners. A person who is in the higher income level in New Jersey is significantly more likely to get this $10,000 grant, despite Christie’s promise to the contrary in requesting federal funding.

“According to its own data, the Christie Administration has set up the Resettlement Grant distribution process in a way that violates the law,” Walsh said. “The promises Governor Christie made to use federal funds to help those people impacted by Sandy with the fewest resources to rebuild have been broken. Does the Administration have any idea of what people are going through? People who want to move back into their homes are frustrated by secret decisions keeping them out in the cold and on friends’ couches.”

Fair Share Housing Center initiated a lawsuit against the Christie Administration in September 2013, alleging that the administration had not been transparent regarding how it awarded federal disaster relief grants after Hurricane Sandy. The Christie Administration recently turned over an initial set of documents related to the litigation, including these data surrounding resettlement grants.

“We should’ve never had to sue because the governor promised to be open in how funds were spent,” he said. “But here we are suing because the state is hiding what happened to $2 billion. You can’t give away that kind of money and think that no one will ask questions.”