Special Coverage

  • Read more on Sandy’s Aftermath

Recovery from a major hurricane can be a long, drawn-out process. And two years after Hurricane Sandy’s onslaught brought destruction to the New Jersey shore, federal agencies are still struggling with their response.

The Newark Star-Ledger reports that some aid dollars are flowing not to hard-hit oceanfront areas, but to inland communities far from the damage — and that the residents benefiting from the aid aren’t people directly affected by the storm (see: “Sandy recovery money showing up inland,” by Mark Di Ionno).

The newest affordable housing project completed with federal Hurricane Sandy recovery funds is in downtown Orange. A block away, another is in the works,” the paper reports. “They're 7 miles from where Sandy's tidal surge backed up the Passaic River and swamped blocks of Newark's Ironbound. They're 42 miles from Union Beach, where tsunami-like waves from the Raritan Bay wrecked three-quarters of the 2,400 homes in town. And 81 miles from Ortley Beach, where the Atlantic pounded the ocean-side homes to rubble while Barnegat Bay flooded those on the other. Of the seven families moving into the new Orange development – which got a $1.5 million federal Sandy grant – none lost their homes in the hurricane.”

Meanwhile, some Sandy storm victims who applied for Small Business Administration loans to help with their storm recovery have learned that because of the loans, they’re not eligible for direct grant money that they otherwise could have gotten. NJ Advance Media has that report (see: “Hurricane Sandy victims learn: No grants if you took out federal loan,” by Jonathan D. Salant).

“When his home in Manasquan was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, David Armstrong secured a low-interest loan from the Small Business Administration to rebuild it,” the report explains. “But when the federal government later offered grants to Sandy victims, Armstrong was out of luck. His $300,000 loan precluded him from getting any of that money.”

 "We had no clue when we signed up and accepted the SBA loan that it would prohibit us from any other types of financial aid," said Armstrong, a computer software salesman. "Do you think I would have signed up for the loan? Of course not."

In other news, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is putting the word out that thousands of homeowners whose insurance settlements may have been unreasonably low have until September to request a review by the agency, according to NJ Advance Media (see: “Sandy homeowners face Sept. 15 deadline for FEMA review of damage claims,” by Jonathan D. Salant).

The report says, “Homeowners have until Sept. 15 to ask the government to review their Hurricane Sandy damage claims, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said… Homeowners who suffered Sandy flood damage from Oct. 27 to Nov. 6, 2012, can call the flood insurance claim center at 1-866-337-4262 or download a form at www.fema.gov/sandyclaims and either email it to FEMA-sandyclaimsreview@fema.dhs.gov or fax it to 1-202-646-7970.”