Meghan Massett: “It’s a new home. It’s a new start.”
Visit: September 8, 2015
Immediately after the State’s Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program was launched, Meghan Massett applied online for grant assistance to repair her Middletown Township home that was severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy.
As she lined up contractors to do the work upon being approved for a RREM grant, Ms. Massett emailed state officials for an estimate on when her first RREM check would arrive. The first check was to be the 50 percent advance payment the RREM Program provides homeowners to start construction and Ms. Massett was eager to begin.
She recalls that about 15 minutes after she sent her email inquiry to state officials in Trenton, her telephone rang. At first, Ms. Massett wasn’t exactly sure who the caller was. After a few moments, she realized it was Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. The Lieutenant Governor had just opened Ms. Massett’s email and was calling to inform the RREM Program participant that she would inquire about the status of the advance payment check. A week later the check arrived.
“That shows responsiveness,” Ms. Massett said of the personal attention she received from the Lieutenant Governor, who has actively (and quietly) helped people impacted by Sandy since the storm struck New Jersey on Oct. 29, 2012.
Ms. Massett recalls that as Sandy approached, sirens started going off in the Leonardo section of Middletown Township as people were evacuated. When she was allowed to return to her home the next afternoon, “the house looked like a snow globe shaken up and filled with mud. Everything was covered in mud. My house was ripped apart from the inside. I lost everything.”
She had to completely gut her house and then repair and elevate it. Her township and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) specified her home should be elevated 14 feet. She decided to elevate another foot – one foot above what was required. With the help of grant funding from the RREM Program, her home is now repaired and elevated 15 feet.
She joked, “I live in a tree house.” Ms. Massett received her Certificate of Occupancy on July 9, 2015, and moved back into her home.
“I’m thankful for the house,” she said. “I appreciate everyone’s help along the way. It’s a new home. It’s a new start.”
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