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Rev Up The RREM and Help Beleaguered Homeowners, Say Toms River Officials

Wary of a second straight summer with Superstorm-ravaged homes strewn across its beachscape – and of their potential economic impact – the Toms River Township Council urges federal and New Jersey officials to open the floodgates on millions in the Rehabilitatin, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation Program (RREM).

The governing body intends to act on a resolution addressing the issue at tonight’s public meeting.

RREM is a $600,000,000 component in the federal superstorm recovery package, offering up to $150,000 in grants to help qualifying primary homeowners rebuild, repair or conform their Sandy-damaged dwellings.

It’s touted as a stopgap revenue stream in conjunction with other money that homeowners have been able to acquire.

Rancor began to rise when New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) officials based their evaluations on data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Federal officials told WOBM News that DCA requested and received figures related to immediate, short-term post-disaster needs. They stressed that the data was not intended for long-range solutions.

Since that point, state officials broadened their scop to include reparations through insurance companies and Small Business Association (SBA) damage evaluations.

In a prepared release, Council President Maria Maruca cited hundreds of homeowner rejections, and hundreds more in limbo over how much they’ll receive, and when. “What we are wondering now is why the delay? How long will it take for funds to be available,” she said.

From Township Engineer Robert Chankalian’s viewpoint, streamlining and expediting the process at DCA “will help not only restore the township from a community standpoint, but from a ratable base as well.”

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