Seaside Heights after Sandy (Matthew White, Townsquare Media NJ)

Homeowners with questions about rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy are given answers courtesy of a seminar put on by The American Littoral Society.

The meeting was held in the municipal building of Brick Township, and featured experts on the legal, financial, and engineering aspects involved to mitigating and rebuilding after the catastrophic storm.

The nonprofit hosted the seminar, and says while issues like beach clean ups, replenishment, and clean water remain important, now is the time to focus on smart and environmentally sound building practices. Namely, techniques that are beneficial both for land use and protection in the event of future storms.

American Littoral Society President Tim Dillingham cites a study from the DEP which finds the biggest threat to ecological health of the state was sprawl.

"The storm has really brought a focus on how bad those focuses were, the laws or the lack of regulation. " Adding that in the rebuilding "we have the opportunity to fix some of those problems. To go back and fix not only some of the pollution problems but fix the aspects of those laws that made our communities vulnerable so that this doesn't happen again."

Mark Jamison, Public Affairs Specialist from the US Small Business Administration said not only businesses but homeowners and even renters can qualify for a low interest loan through the SBA.

Jamison says the rate on the loan can be as low as 1.688 percent with terms of up to thirty years, which many people do qualify for.
"Please don't pre judge your credit and say 'I won't qualify for an SBA loan' or 'I won't qualify for that particular interest rate' because most people are going to qualify to for the 1.688 interest rate."

Water Resources Engineer John Miller of the Ringoes based Princeton Hydro explains that businesses, municipalities, and individuals need to look into the future when doing the repairs in order to build structures that are more resilient against future storms. He says FEMA is offering grant programs towards mitigating the storm damage.

"Some of it would have to do with elevating structures, some places would be at such high risk that voluntary acquisitions would be the way to go."
He notes other project such as wet flood proofing, which allows water to go through a commercial property, should also be considered.

The seminar proved to be valuable for the numerous homeowners and renters who attended. One woman noted "there was a little too much to take in at one time but I took a lot of notes and hope to go study them." However she was still happy, because even though her home wasn't destroyed many of her friends homes was, and they are looking for advice.

"We all need help, we all need answers and it's not easy to get them but with these organizations it really is helpful at this time."
Another man at the seminar who's second home was partially destroyed noted "just getting through all the paperwork " was the hardest part. "It's the first time and hopefully the only time so it's a lot of work."