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Christie Announces New Sandy Elevation Grants

Home being elevated in Keansburg on July 7, 2014. (credit: Jim Smith/WCBS 880)

Home being elevated in Keansburg on July 7, 2014. (credit: Jim Smith/WCBS 880)

Superstorm Sandy

KEANSBURG, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Dozens more homeowners will be receiving grants to raise their homes above flood level in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

Gov. Chris Christie traveled to Keansburg on Monday to announce that 132 more federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program awards have been granted to New Jersey homeowners to help cover the costs of elevation.

Christie Announces New Sandy Elevation Grants

pict0618 Christie Announces New Sandy Elevation Grants
Jim Smith reports

“Finally there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Linda Patterson, who has been living with her husband in a cramped hotel room since the storm.

A huge cinder block foundation is rising under her now elevated home,  WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported.

“We’re so glad,” Patterson said. “It looks weird being up there, we’re not used to seeing it like that.”

Brian Katz and his wife had only owned their Keansburg home for six months when the storm hit. They said without the grant they wouldn’t be able to raise their home.

“It would still be on the ground and we would still be waiting,” Katz told 1010 WINS. “We’re very thankful. We had to be patient, it took time, but we understand that and we appreciate the assistance.”

A total of 460 grants totaling approximately $12 million have been awarded so far. Christie said he expects more soon.

“We still have lots of people left to go,” Christie said. “By helping people to elevate their homes, they can literally raise their homes out of harm’s way.”

Homeowners with federal flood insurance are eligible for grants of up to $30,000 to raise their houses to comply with new standards.

But some homeowners are frustrated because the money is only reimbursed after the work is complete, Smith reported.

“The program is well and good, but where do I get that money from? It’s frustrating.” said Doug Yurgelonis, whose home is in foreclosure. “We’re now 20 months out from the storm and you can look in my front door and see right out the back. I laugh a lot of what’s said here today.”

“The only way out of the foreclosure is to rebuild it, and the only way to get the money is to get out of foreclosure,” his wife said.

The couple said the last option inching closer is simply walking away.

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