Watson Coleman, Pallone, Kim Applaud House Passage of Appropriations Bill that Provides Relief for Families Still Recovering from Sandy
Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6) and Andy Kim (NJ-3) today applauded House passage of an appropriations bill that provides relief for families currently required to pay back disaster relief funds they received after Superstorm Sandy.
The provisions in the bill grant the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development the authority to waive the requirement for New Jersey homeowners to pay back federal disaster relief aid, also known as clawbacks, as a result of Superstorm Sandy. Many homeowners who received relief funds have been required to repay some or all the funds, creating a financial burden during a time of economic crisis. Sandy-related clawbacks estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars are impacting approximately 500 homeowners in New Jersey.
“America is at its best when it works together to help those in need,” said Congresswoman Watson Coleman. “Superstorm Sandy devastated thousands of New Jersey families and America came together to help them. The passage of this bill is welcome news. The financial relief it provides will go a long way toward those still seeking to be made whole. I’m grateful for the hard work of Congressmen Pallone and Kim for their hard work to see this through.”
"This relief for New Jerseyans is something I am proud to have fought for because we can't say we've truly recovered from Superstorm Sandy until every one of our neighbors is back on their feet," said Congressman Kim. "Today we are one step closer to recovery, thanks to the tireless efforts of Congressman Pallone, Congresswoman Watson Coleman, and the incredible advocates at the New Jersey Organizing Project. Nearly a decade after the storm, it is important to remember the victims hardest hit, and to be able to deliver them some relief. I am proud to have been part of this vitally important effort."
“Even after nine years, the wounds from Hurricane Sandy endure,” said Congressman Pascrell. “Many New Jerseyans have still not been made whole. Seeking loan repayment from many of them is unwise and unwarranted. Recognizing the pain of our neighbors, our strong congressional delegation stands together to give our neighbors peace of mind. We are one step closer to making this law.”
“We are grateful to the New Jersey Congressional delegation for any action to forgive Community Disaster Loans,” said Lisa Stevens of Little Egg Harbor. “Many of the families in our community are still struggling and do not need to be burdened with any more cost due to Superstorm Sandy.”
“As a Superstorm Sandy survivor, I know the struggles of navigating the Broken Recovery System. For eight years, families have fought to get back in their homes, and many are now forced to repay grant money through no fault of their own,” said Jody Stewart of the New Jersey Organizing Project. “We are grateful for all assistance we are getting from our Representatives to put closure on clawbacks and allow families to close the book on the storm.”
“I am grateful that Congressman Pallone and the New Jersey congressional delegation work for best interests of Sandy survivors and continue to support us by fighting for clawback forgiveness,” said Rose Steward of Long Branch. “Clawback forgiveness will give Sandy survivors the opportunity to finally become whole and put the storm behind us.”
In April, Pallone led an appropriations request letter to provide relief for families currently required to pay back disaster relief funds they received after Superstorm Sandy. The letter was signed by the entire New Jersey delegation in the House of Representatives.
Last year, the New Jersey delegation secured a one-year reprieve in those recoupment efforts for debt owed to the federal government. The lawmakers also requested cancellation of unforgiven Community Disaster Loans (CDLs) made to municipalities throughout New Jersey to help them recover from the storm.