Though elevation maps have not been finalized by FEMA, Gov. Chris Christie told residents Tuesday that the government will provide grants for repairs and raising homes.

“We’ll give you a grant to elevate your home. Even if your home hasn’t been damaged, we’ll give you a grant for a substantial amount of the cost to do that elevation,” Christie told a packed house at a Lavallette firehouse, according to The Asbury Park Press. “It doesn’t mean we won’t continue to push FEMA for relief from the flood maps, but if you wait 18 to 24 months to rebuild, no one will come back to the Jersey Shore.”

The $1.8 billion that was received from block grant money from the federal government will be used towards these repairs, Christie said. This includes two programs for homes and businesses, which will start by the end of March or early April. The programs include home elevation, making up the difference in cost from aid or insurance money, and helping businesses reopen.

The application process has not been set up yet, but will be advertised when it’s finalized, officials said.

Christie told homeowners at the event not to wait until the FEMA flood maps are issued, because regardless of the final map requirements, homeowners will see savings in flood insurance premiums.

The Asbury Park Press