The recovery from Hurricane Sandy has not been easy.

Flood-insurance payments and help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency took too long (and provided too little) for some people. Many are still knee-deep in that process.

Renters have found themselves with nowhere to go.

New flood maps caused much uncertainty for homeowners: Elevate? How high? Demolish and rebuild? Walk away? And how - how - would you pay for it?

Well, a mere seven months after the storm, answers - and, most important, dollars - are starting to trickle in.

Some $1.8 billion in federal disaster-relief funds are now available to help people elevate their homes and to help others pay future increased flood-insurance premiums.

Under the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation program, homeowners will be eligible for grants of up to $150,000 to elevate homes.

You have until June 30 to apply for the first round of funding. Applicants will be assigned random places in line, and then applications will be prioritized according to the degree of damage and household income. The grants are available only for primary residences and only for households earning less than $250,000 a year. The lower your income, the higher your priority will be.

A new round of revised flood maps will be released this month to give homeowners further guidance on required elevations.

Under the Homeowner Resettlement Program, homeowners can receive grants of $10,000 for nonconstruction resettlement costs - including flood-insurance premiums - if they agree to stay in their home county for three years.

A separate program for displaced renters is also on the way.

Thousands already have applied for the grants. You must have registered with FEMA by May 1 to be eligible. Applications can be taken by phone at 855-726-3946 or at By June 8, there will be offices in nine counties - including Atlantic and Ocean - where people can apply in person.

To go in seven months from that horrible morning of Oct. 29, when coastal residents awoke to the damage, to the availability of $150,000 grants to elevate homes is pretty darn good, in our opinion. Praise whatever government official you want - from President Barack Obama to Gov. Chris Christie to those beleaguered FEMA workers.

Yes, we know. Homeowners do not have the money in their hands yet (actually, the state will pay approved contractors directly). The process is likely to be a bit burdensome. And not everyone will get everything they want.

But, folks - sometimes your government does a good job. And at the moment, this is looking like one of those times.

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