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With Funding Scarce, Few in Brick Apply to Raise Houses

Mayor: means testing could lock many Brick residents out of assistance; those who saved, prepared could be penalized

Out of an estimated 4,000 and 5,000 Brick homeowners who must raise their houses to avoid monstrous flood insurance premiums, how many have filed paperwork with the township to do so?

Ten.

The staggeringly-low figure represents the number of house raising permits issued by the township so far this year, spokesman Keith Rella said. In mathematical terms, that's two-tenths of one percent of the estimated total.

"It's going to take a long time," said Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis, who is becoming more frustrated with the lack of funding available to help all coastal residents – not just those who qualify for means-tested grants – to raise their homes.

"People who didn't prepare, didn't save, they're the ones that are actually going to qualify for the Community Development Block Grant money," said Acropolis. "Anyone who has assets, who has money in the bank, they want you to use that money. They want you to take a loan instead of a grant."

The means testing of CDBG funding – 70 percent of it will be set aside for what the state considers low to moderate income households – could lock out many residents from help.

In the 2010 U.S. census, the median income of a Brick family was $81,868. According to the state Department of Community Affairs, a family of four must not make more than $73,113 to be considered "moderate income," however.

What's worse – for those who can actually qualify for it – is the fact that the disbursement of CDBG grants may now be delayed until August.

In the mean time, residents who can get back in their homes are doing so without raising them and just waiting for the clock to run out before flood insurance rates, which are required by essentially all mortgage companies, rise to as much as $30,000 a year for those who do not elevate.

"There are so many homes that are for sale, and many are the tiny ones where it might not be worth it to raise," said Acropolis. "I'm disappointed in the people who said, 'the money will be there, go ahead and rebuild.'"

"To this date, Senator Lautenberg and Senator Menendez (both D-NJ) have not delivered for Ocean County," the mayor said. "And I hate to think this, but maybe it's because it's a Republican county. I hate to think that way, but with what I've seen happen in Washington, who knows."

SAVEOURCOMMUNITY April 23, 2013 at 10:07 PM
That was one of Save Our Communities 2013 comments to the Governor's CDBG plan. Only 1/3 of the money was going to homeowners of which 30% was going to families making over $80,000. If 80% of the money (not 1/3) was to go to homeowners a lot more families could have been helped. In addition, 48% of the CDBG can now be diverted by the State to go to areas that never saw any Sandy damage. Ask your elected officials as Our representatives, where they were in providing written comments to the Governor's plan the majority of which is not going where congress intended it to go: Sandy affected homeowners. I know where our grassroots organization was. Ron https://www.facebook.com/SaveOurNJCommunities?fref=ts
Ken April 24, 2013 at 03:40 AM
I think the town hired 5 people to handle these 10 people, Juan Bellu said the work load is overwhelming
bernie April 24, 2013 at 11:46 AM
Hazard mitigation grant is the one that's going to help the majority according to a friend from Louisiana. Cdbg was for low income housing families. There are plenty with under an $80k income living in water front communities. A lot of the baywood and shore acres communities are 2nd n 3rd generation
Credence is April 24, 2013 at 05:57 PM
Those on Council and adminstration who's homes were "damaged" by the storm should not have anything to do with the legislation of any maps or rules.
bernie April 24, 2013 at 06:41 PM
I believe your backwards. That's who we want inn our corner fighting for the corrections

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