TRENTON (CBSNewYork) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency is giving the state of New Jersey $13.8 million to purchase 67 flood-damaged homes in Sayreville.
The funding, through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, is the third round of nearly $55.1 million in buyouts for 272 homes in Sayreville and South River that sustained extensive flooding from the Raritan and South rivers during superstorm Sandy.
The latest homes targeted for buyouts are located priarily in the Old Bridge section of Sayreville, located in Middlesex County.
“I commend FEMA for its continued support as we work toward our goal of moving willing sellers in flood-prone areas,” Gov. Chris Christie said in a news release. “We will continue to work closely with our federal partners to help these residents move forward with their lives as quickly as possible. My Administration understands that this decision is a deeply personal one, and is committed to making this process as easy as possible for every property owner participating in the program.”
Once the purchases are finalized, the homes will be razed, and the land will be maintained as open space that can handle future flooding, the state said.
Some residents told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell in May they no longer felt safe in Sayreville.
“We’re done. We want to get out,” said Shannon Cox.
“We had two hurricanes within two years. So we got the message,” her husband, Chris, added.
Other residents, however, had admitted that it will be heartbreaking to walk away from their homes.
“It’s not a choice anymore. It’s a necessity,” Kathy Hogue told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller in June.
The state Department of Environmental Protection has made offers to more than 50 property homes in the first round of acquisitions in Sayreville. Nine have accepted offer, the state said.
The Christie administration is aiming to purchase 1,000 properties in tidal areas affected by Sandy, and another 300 properties in the Passaic River Basin, which is prone to flooding.
“This program is an important part of the Administration’s multifaceted effort to make the state stronger and more resilient,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said in a news release. “The buyout program will move thousands of families out of harm’s way and turn these properties into open space that will absorb future flood waters, helping to protect at-risk communities.”
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