Bills to help towns prevent flooding and recover from damage advance in Trenton

It’s been more than a year since Hurricane Ida flooded parts of New Jersey, and there are many people still waiting for the help that was promised to them.

News 12 Staff

Dec 9, 2022, 12:28 AM

Updated 584 days ago

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It’s been more than a year since Hurricane Ida flooded parts of New Jersey, and there are many people still waiting for the help that was promised to them. This includes three siblings who are still taking care of their deceased mother’s uninhabitable home in Manville.
Martha Drost’s home sits vacant at the end of a dead-end street at the edge of Manville. She was in a rehabilitation center when Ida hit and died one day later.
“If she had seen this, it would have killed her anyway,” says daughter Mary Strenko.
Within weeks of the storm, Strenko and her siblings applied for a state program called Blue Acres, which buys out homeowners from flood-damaged homes and allows them to move on. The state then clears out these flood-prone areas. The siblings are still waiting.
“It’s hard. We just want to wrap this up,” says Strenko.
A state Assembly panel approved a $25 million fund at the State House on Thursday. The fund is replenished with state money and will go to the Blue Acre purchases.
“In the face of increased flooding due to climate change, we’re going to have to make some of these difficult choices,” says Allison McCloud, of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.
Last week, $10 million of federal money was announced to buy out 31 homes in Manville. Manville's mayor says there are about 100 houses and people who still need help.
“And it may be a year before these people get help. And I find that unacceptable,” says Mayor Richard Onderko.
As for Strenko, she says that getting the Blue Acres purchase would help her and her family get some sense of closure.
The state Department of Environmental Protection says the $10 million federal award is the max allocated to New Jersey under the FEMA "Swift Current" initiative.


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