February 16, 2022

Watson Coleman, New Jersey Delegation Urge FEMA To Provide Data In Order To Allocate Hurricane Ida Disaster Relief Funds

Damage From The Storm Have Impacted Every County In The State And Displaced Hundreds Of New Jersey Residents

Yesterday, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) and the Democratic members of New Jersey Congressional delegation wrote a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urging them to ensure that communities impacted by natural disasters receive the support they need. Specifically, the letter calls for FEMA to provide data that would help the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocate funding in a way that would most effectively benefit struggling communities.  

Passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden in September, the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act appropriated $5 billion in relief from natural disasters in 2020 and 2021. On November 1, 2021, HUD announced the allocation of more than $2 billion to states impacted by 2020 disasters. The remaining funds would be used to address the recovery from disasters that occurred in 2021, but these funds cannot be allocated by HUD until FEMA provides the necessary data to calculate the proper allocations. 

The New Jersey delegation’s letter reads in part: 

Many reconstruction and recovery efforts in New Jersey cannot commence until HUD allocates this funding, and the months of delay have had a deleterious impact on the families and communities in our state. Many of our constituents were displaced when their homes were destroyed by the storm, including hundreds living in public housing. Housing shortages compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic have left many residents in hotels and motels at government expense to this day, with no expectation of when they will be able to return to their homes. Under any circumstances, this uncertainty would be difficult to bear, but during the current pandemic, the impact is magnified. Moreover, with each passing day, the mold and water damage to the impacted properties, as well as the expense to mitigate the damage, only increases...

We appreciate all that FEMA has done already to help New Jersey residents get back on their feet, but we need a better understanding of when these calculations for relief awards will be completed. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, and please do not hesitate to contact our offices if you have questions or wish to discuss this matter further.  

The letter is cosigned by Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), as well as Reps. Frank Pallone (NJ-06), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Albio Sires (NJ-), Andy Kim (NJ-03) and Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09). 

The full text of the letter can be found here