An affordable housing advocacy group has sued the state for failing to release information about how Hurricane Sandy assistance is being dispersed to property owners.
The Cherry Hill-based Fair Share Housing Center filed the suit Wednesday in Mercer County Superior Court after the state repeatedly asked for extensions in releasing documents concerning the selection process for three grant programs representing $850 million in federal funding.
Those programs include the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation program; the Resettlement Grant; and the Fund for Rehabilitation of Small Rental Properties. They provide funding to individual homeowners and landlords.
“The documents that the Christie Administration is using to evaluate who gets money and who does not should be public,” said Adam Gordon, the center’s staff attorney. “No more excuses, no more secrets.”
According to the center, thousands of families have been denied rebuilding assistance. Its July 31 OPRA request sought the guidelines used to deny those applications.
The suit alleges that the state Department of Community Affairs requested a 30-day extension to the mandatory response time, a deadline it did not meet. State officials then requested another extension of 10 days.
“(The center) has no way of knowing how many further delay periods DCA will assert instead of producing the documents,” the suit reads.
In the suit, the center seeks expedited access to the public documents, reimbursement of legal fees and a court order requiring the department to comply with public records law.
A spokesperson for the DCA declined to comment.
Contact Wallace McKelvey:
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