Setbacks in initial program rollouts continue to hinder progress
CHERRY HILL, NJ - In the second annual State of Sandy Recovery report released today, civil rights and housing advocates found New Jersey's recovery from Sandy far from complete, and recommended a series of reforms to bring greater transparency and effectiveness to New Jersey's recovery programs. Fair Share Housing Center (FSHC), the Latino Action Network (LAN), and the NAACP New Jersey State Conference found that over 15,000 families are still waiting to finish rebuilding and have little idea when that rebuilding will be complete.
"The state of Sandy recovery is far from complete for over 15,000 families impacted by Sandy," FSHC Staff Attorney Adam Gordon said. "We call on the Christie Administration to redouble its efforts to get everyone back home, from Moonachie to Toms River, Keansburg to Atlantic City. Governor Christie should not forget about thousands of people who still are struggling over two years after Sandy."
The report, available here, pulls together data from numerous public documents in one place to provide the most comprehensive survey of New Jersey's use of federal funds for Sandy recovery in three key areas: fairness, effectiveness, and transparency. Based on the data and firsthand accounts in the report from displaced renters and homeowners, the report suggests improvements to the recovery process. The suggestions include providing people waiting for funding with more information on the steps ahead in the process and when they can expect funds; doing more to help people dealing with unscrupulous contractors especially given recent reports that the State failed to screen those contractors; and better marketing of the State's new programs for renters and homeowners in English and Spanish.
"Setbacks from the initial rollout of recovery programs put the Latino community at a disadvantage we're still working at overcoming today," said Frank Argote-Freyre, President of the Latino Action Network. "The State has to ensure that its effort going forward are inclusive to all communities. A transparent process, adequate funding, and effective dissemination of information will pave the way for a successful recovery."
"New Jersey still has a long road ahead to make Sandy recovery fair and effective for all communities," said Richard Smith, President of the NAACP New Jersey State Conference. "We hope that by this time next year we will be much further along in rebuilding for everyone."
Fair Share Housing Center
Fair Share Housing Center (FSHC), founded in 1975, is the only public interest organization entirely devoted to defending the housing rights of New Jersey's poor through enforcement of the Mount Laurel Doctrine, the landmark decision that prohibits economic discrimination through exclusionary zoning and requires all towns to provide their "fair share" of their region's need for affordable housing.
Latino Action Network
The Latino Action Network is a grassroots organization composed of individuals and organizations that are committed to engaging in collective action at the local, state and national levels in order to advance the equitable inclusion of the diverse Latino communities in all aspects of United States society.
NJ State Conference of the NAACP
The NJ NAACP is the New Jersey state conference of the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. From the ballot box to the classroom, the thousands of dedicated workers, organizers, leaders and members who make up the NAACP continue to fight for social justice for all Americans.