BARNEGAT - Last month, Kane In Your Corner investigated how Sandy grant money was being distributed to storm victims in New Jersey. Now, a month later, one of the homeowners featured in that report has received his $10,000 grant; while the other, who applied for a $150,000 grant, is nowhere close to getting relief.
John Rimmer spent much of his savings to repair his home in Barnegat, which suffered severe flood damage. Last month, he told News 12 New Jersey's Walt Kane about his frustration waiting for his grant money to arrive, after all of his neighbors had gotten theirs. "What's going on?" he wondered. "It seems like a simple thing. It was simple for the other people, why wasn't it simple for me?"
Since that interview, Rimmer says officials with the Homeowners Resettlement Program were much more accommodating. "A couple of days later, I was notified about an interview and then after my interview, I received my money within seven days," he says, adding, "I'm very grateful for what you did…and I don't think it was a coincidence. I think you must have ruffled their feathers."
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But there's been no such luck for Mike and Paula Galida, whose home in Ortley Beach had to be torn down because of severe foundation damage. On July 8, they were told they had been put on a waiting list because all available funds in the Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation grant program had been awarded.
The Division of Consumer Affairs told News 12 New Jersey it was hopeful the Galidas and others like them would eventually get assistance, either via a second round of federal funding, or if the homeowners approved in the first round wound up needing less than the full grant amount. But a month later, the federal funding has yet to materialize, and the first round of grant money has not been distributed.
Paula Galida says she no longer expects to get help. "The boardwalk is taking $5 million of Sandy money," she says. "For the second time, they've been given grants, and homeowners still haven't gotten anything. I just don't understand their reasoning."