Robin Hood Foundation grants available in Little Egg Harbor Township
LITTLE EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — The township has received $300,000 in grant funding from the Robin Hood Foundation and applications from residents will now be accepted for assistance to repair storm damage to their homes.
Officials estimate that at least 4,017 township homes were affected during Hurricane Sandy and a large number of residents still remain displaced. The applications that are being accepted by the township remind potential applicants that funding is limited and not every request will receive funding.
The funding from the foundation is only available for those with household incomes of $60,000 or less, those who have been displaced from their primary residence and residents who have had insufficient help to return to their homes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and insurance providers.
Funding assistance per household is expected to be between $500 and a maximum of $2,000, according to the application. The foundation will not distribute money directly to individuals. Instead, funding will be provided to contractors on behalf of the homeowner, the application states.
The funding will be paid to contractors in installments. The first payment will be made once permits have been secured and the second installment will be issued to a contractor once work has been completed and inspected.
Mayor John Kehm started communication with the Robin Hood Foundation in December in an attempt to secure grant funding to assist displaced residents in the township. Representatives from the foundation visited the township last month and met with officials to discuss their grant application. The foundation approved the funding just weeks ago.
Last month, the foundation reported that groups and organizations in New Jersey have received about $11 million — 34 percent of their funding that has been raised, with 36 percent going to housing for storm victims.
Assistant Township Administrator said the foundation is poised to disperse more funding to the township to assist with Hurricane Sandy recovery relief.
Township Administrator Garrett Loesch said during the township’s regular Committee meeting Thursday evening that the final approval from the state came that evening from the state Division of Local Government Services to disperse the funding received from the foundation.
The township had to follow a process through the state to release the funds and had to apply for a dedicated trust through the state Division of Local Government Services.
The Township Committee also introduced an ordinance Thursday evening to adopt FEMA’s advisory base flood elevation maps. In January, the township Committee delayed adopting the maps.
Under the new maps the township has been placed in the highest risk zone, with a 4-foot increase to the base flood elevation.
“We are going to fight these v-zones and these maps until we get some kind of positive decision on them. We’re going to fight as hard as we can,” said Deputy Mayor Ray Gormley.
The only reason the committee is introducing an ordinance to adopt the maps is so people can take the next step and take advantage of FEMA’s increased cost of compliance coverage (ICC), Kehm said.
“We thought long and hard on this about adopting these maps, and we had to make our decision based on the greatest good for the greatest number. These are some of the decisions you have to make when you are in public office. We can’t make 100 percent of the people happy all of the time,” said Committeeman Ed Nuttall.
The committee also passed a resolution to permit residents to immediately appeal FEMA’s advisory base flood elevation maps.
“We want to do this for the residents to appeal these too. If they have the time they can come and fight them alongside us,” Kehm said.
The last day to sign up for hazard mitigation grants at the township is today and more than 800 applicants are on that list, Kehm said.
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