MIDDLETOWN, NJ - Middletown residents whose homes were substantially damaged by Superstorm Sandy may be eligible for up to $15,000 in federal grant assistance to help with living expenses through the Superstorm Sandy Homeowner/Renter Assistance program (SHRAP).

Middletown Township has received a $1.5 million slice of Monmouth County’s      $9 million SHRAP allocation to assist homeowners struggling to recover from the historic storm. Middletown’s program will be limited to residents whose homes were determined to have been “substantially-damaged” and that need assistance with housing-related expenses.

Middletown expects to begin processing applications by January 2014. Allowable expenses include rent, mortgage and utility payments, appliances, furniture and other necessary household items such as dishes and linens. The program can provide up to six months of housing and related assistance. Payments are not made directly to applicants.

Middletown Township is only municipality to date that has applied and been approved by Monmouth County to administer the SHRAP program directly to its residents.

“We have many families from our Bayshore who continue to struggle to meet the pressures of daily life and recover from Superstorm Sandy,” said Mayor Gerard P. Scharfenberger. “The Township decided to become a participating SHRAP agency to ensure that our residents will have access to funding assistance that could help ease that burden.”

The remainder of the county’s SHRAP allocation is being administered by Monmouth County Social Services and county-approved non-profit organizations.

In order to prevent fraud and maintain the integrity of the program, residents may be asked to bring any of the following items for review: FEMA/DCA registration, mortgage statement/lease agreement, state- issued driver’s license, utility bills, guardianship papers, if applicable, and other items to verify identity.

SHRAP, a $57 million statewide initiative funded by a federal Social Services Block Grant, was designed to provide temporary relief to individuals that have been financially strained by the storm. SHRAP does not provide funding for home repair or reconstruction or household items already purchased. Detailed information about program eligibility and limitations will be posted on the township website, www.middletownnj.org, beginning December 17, 2013.

For more information, please call the Middletown Planning Department at 732-615-2098 or 732-615-2283.