Frequently Asked Questions about the Resettlement Program
Last Updated: August 8, 2013
Qualifying for Resettlement
1. What is the Resettlement program?
The State of New Jersey has allocated $180 million in CDBG-DR (Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery) funds to encourage Superstorm Sandy impacted Homeowners in the nine (9) most impacted Counties Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex. Monmouth, Ocean, Union to remain in the County where their home was damaged.
2. How does it benefit me?
An applicant who meets the eligibility and selection criteria for the Resettlement program will receive a $10,000 grant award to be used for non construction purposes.
3. Is the program a loan?
The program is not a loan and does not have to be repaid if the awardee abides by the terms of the Resettlement Program. The awardee must sign a promissory note which will be forgiven if he/she resettles in or continues living in the County of their damaged residence for three years.
4. Who is eligible for a Resettlement grant?
To be eligible to receive a Resettlement grant applicants must meet the following eligibility factors:
The damaged residence must be located in one of nine (9) most impacted Counties [Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex. Monmouth, Ocean, Union].
At the time of the storm the damaged residence must have been owned and occupied by the applicant as the applicant’s primary residence.
The applicant must have registered for FEMA assistance.
The residence must have sustained damage as a result of Superstorm Sandy with a Full Verified Loss (FVL) of at least $8,000 or had more than one foot of water on the first floor as determined by FEMA.
Homeowners are eligible regardless of their income, but 60% of the funds are reserved for low and moderate income households.
5. What kind of properties are eligible?
Single family homes and owner-occupied units in multi-unit properties (such as duplexes and townhomes).
6. My vacation home was damaged. Can I receive a Resettlement grant?
No. Vacation homes, second homes and recreational vehicles or trailers are not eligible for the Resettlement Program.
7. My home has been foreclosed since Superstorm Sandy, can I still apply?
Yes. You can still apply for a Resettlement grant as long as you are willing to sign a promissory note agreeing to live in the County of your residence for three years.
8. I’m thinking about selling my home can I apply for Resettlement assistance?
Yes. You can still apply for a Resettlement grant as long as you agree to live in the county of your damaged residence for three years following the signing of a promissory note.
The Application Process
9. How do I apply for Resettlement grant?
Applying for the Resettlement grant is easy. You can apply:
On line at renewjerseystronger.org if you need help while filling out the online application our Call Center can answer your questions. 1 855-SANDYHM (1-855-726-3946).
By phone: If you would prefer you can call our Call Center and a representative will complete the online application for you.
In Person: Sandy Housing Assistance Centers will open in each of the nine (9) most impacted Counties [Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex. Monmouth, Ocean, Union] on June 8. You can go to the Center to make an application or get information about the program.
How you apply does not affect your status or the likelihood that your application will be selected for award. Please fill out only one application for the Resettlement grant.
10. Will everyone who applies receive funding?
The State was awarded $180 million from the federal government for use in this program. As a result, we estimate 16,000 Sandy-impacted residents will receive assistance. It is anticipated that more residents will apply than the allocated funds will benefit.
11. What is the deadline for applications?
The initial application period for the Resettlement Program and the RREM Program began on May 24, 2013 and ended June 30, 2013. Interested homeowners can continue to apply for the program but any application received beginning July 1, 2013 will be considered only after all of the applications from the initial period are processed.
12. How are applications processed?
To ensure that everyone who applied during the initial period had an equal chance of being selected, all eligible applications were placed in an order for processing using a computerized random selection process. The random selection was completed after the June 30th, 2013 initial application period closed.
13. When is my closing date?
Awardees will receive a letter that will show their closing date and where they should go for the closing.
14. What do I do if I need to reschedule my closing date?
It is possible to reschedule your appointment, but because we are scheduling thousands of closing, rescheduling may delay your closing. If you need to reschedule your closing date you may reschedule the appointment by calling the reNewJerseyStronger Call Center at 1-855-726-3946, Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm.
15. What do I need to bring with me to my Resettlement closing?
You will need to bring the following documents to your Resettlement Closing:
- Government-issued ID (e.g., Driver’s License, NJ non-driver’s Identification, or passport)
- The Income Certification Form that was mailed in your packet, signed by all household members age 18 and older along with documentation to support income and assets.
- If you are not the applicant but are signing on behalf of an applicant you must bring a Power of Attorney that shows you are authorized to sign the Promissory Note for the applicant.
16. How do I know if I have been selected for an award?
The week of July 8th, applicants received during the initial application period were notified of their status via mail. The week of August 8th, applicants who applied during the second round will be notified of their status via mail. There are two possible statuses: 1) You have been determined to be preliminarily eligible for an award and your appointment to close will be included in your letter, and 2) You are not eligible for the program because you did not meet the eligibility criteria.
17. What proof do I need that I owned my home and that it was my primary residence?
A title search in public records will be used to confirm ownership. If ownership cannot be confirmed from public records you will be asked to provide additional documentation
18. How will the damage to my home be determined?
In order to be eligible for the Resettlement program the applicant’s home must have sustained at least $8,000 of damage or have had at least 1 foot of water on the first floor as determined by FEMA. No action is required by you to determine the level of damage.
19. How will the pre-storm value of my home be established?
For the Resettlement program there is no need to establish a pre-storm value.
20. Does my income affect the amount of my Resettlement grant?
Income is not a criteria used to select recipients of the Resettlement grant. However, 60% of the funds will go to low and moderate income, so an applicant will have to provide their income on the application.
21. If I don’t have a FEMA number can I apply for FEMA assistance now?
No. FEMA is no longer taking applications for assistance due to Superstorm Sandy.
22. How is my award calculated?
There is no calculation for the award. If deemed eligible and selected, the awardee will receive $10,000.
23. What is duplication of benefits?
The duplication of benefits analysis takes into consideration all of the funds the owner received to repair the damaged home including insurance, FEMA and SBA assistance, and any assistance from other sources that were for repair of the structure. However, since these other sources do not provide resettlement assistance, duplication of benefits analysis is NOT required.
24. When will I know if I will receive a Resettlement grant?
You will be notified by letter of your award at some point during July 2013.
25. When will I receive the Resettlement funds?
Closings for the Resettlement Awards will occur in mid-July. The funds will be distributed ten-fifteen days after the closing.
26. Do I have to use my Resettlement money to repair my home?
The Resettlement funds may be used for any non-construction purpose that assists the Homeowner to remain in or to return to the County in which they lived prior to the storm. Resettlement funds may not be used for construction related costs.
27. Is my $10,000 Resettlement money taxable?
Each awardee should consult their tax professional for information on how this income will affect your tax liability.
28. How will I receive my money?
Every awardee will attend a closing and sign the promissory note. Approximately fifteen (15) days after the signing, the awardee will receive, a check in the amount of $10,000.
29. What are my obligations if I accept the $10,000 Resettlement award?
A Homeowner who accepts the Resettlement award must agree to use the funds for non-construction purposes and to return and remain for 3 years to the County in which they lived prior to the storm.
30. What is a promissory note?
A promissory note is a signed document containing a written promise to pay a stated sum to a specified person or the bearer at a specified date or (on demand). In the case of the Resettlement program, the awardee will agree to repay the $10,000 received back to the State of New Jersey in the case that the awardee discontinues living in the County of their damaged residence at any time in the three years following the signing of the note. If the awardee lives in the County of their damaged residence for the entire three years following the receipt of the $10,000 and the signing of the promissory note, the note will be forgiven in full.
31. My brother and sister also are on the title and own the house that was damaged with me. I am the only one who lives in the house. They live out of state. Who gets the money?
The Resettlement grant is for the owner occupant of the home. Owners who are not owner/occupants are not eligible for the Resettlement grant. The Promissory Note obligates the owner occupant, but a lien is not placed on the property. Therefore, the permission of non-occupant owners is not required.
32. What is a power of attorney?
A written document in which one person (the principal) appoints another person to act as an agent on his or her behalf, thus conferring authority on the agent to perform certain acts or functions on behalf of the principal. This document can be used in special circumstances to sign on behalf of an owner who may be unable to be present at the closing for the Resettlement program.
33. How long does an appeal take to be reviewed?
You will receive notification within 50 days of your appeal submission of the status of your appeal.
34. What are my options if I received an ineligibility letter for my application?
If your application was determined to be ineligible you have the right to appeal.
35. How do I appeal?
You must submit your appeal in writing to: reNew Jersey Stronger – Appeals Department, PO Box 32117, Newark NJ 07102.
36. What decisions can be appealed?
Determination of Ineligibility for the Resettlement Grant.
37. What is the process for an appeal?
Appeals will be reviewed against Program policies and requirements and applicable local, state and federal law.
38. How will I be notified of the appeal decision?
You will be notified by certified letter of the decision.
39. What if I am dissatisfied with the appeal determination?
Applicants who are dissatisfied with the appeal determination may make further appeal to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL).
40. In the event that I am still dissatisfied with the OAL’s ruling do I have any other options for further appeal?
Yes, you may file an appeal with the State of New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division.