KIYC: Sandy housing grants investigated

Housing advocates are questioning whether the Christie administration has done enough to help low- to moderate-income victims of Sandy. The administration announced it will earmark

Housing advocates are questioning whether the Christie administration has done enough to help low- to moderate-income victims of Sandy.

Housing advocates are questioning whether the Christie administration has done enough to help low- to moderate-income victims of Sandy. (11/26/13)

EDISON - Housing advocates are questioning whether the Christie administration has done enough to help low- to moderate-income victims of Sandy.

The administration announced it will earmark $2.5 million in federal funds to develop affordable housing in communities impacted by Sandy.

The Fair Share Housing Center says that aid is much too little, and comes far too late.

Christie had promised that the state would provide most of its assistance to low- and moderate-income victims of Sandy, but housing advocates say they have proof it was not.

The Fair Share Housing Center says only 40 percent of Sandy aid went to low- and moderate-income storm victims, because the administration claimed it "could not find" enough people who qualified.

The group says new documents show many low- to moderate-income applicants were actually rejected for grants, sometimes with no clear explanation.

The documents also show African-American and Latino applicants were disproportionately rejected.

The areas that got the most storm damage did not necessarily receive the most money, according to the group.

Fair Share Housing's analysis found problems with the instructions given out to call center employees. The online system used by workers answering calls did not always have the latest information on applicants' status, so the group says employees were told not to update callers on their status at all.

The Department of Community Affairs, the agency charged with running the Sandy grant programs, says the claims are alarmist, inaccurate and misleading.

"The order in which applicants were selected was determined by a computerized random ordering process," Commissioner Richard Constable says. "Grant selection was then prioritized for homeowners with the most damage, whose primary residences are in the most impacted counties, and who have the greatest financial need."
 

More on this topic

Sandy Housing Grants

Fair Share Housing Center

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