In an effort to encourage Sandy-impacted homeowners to resettle in their primary residences and help them with reconstruction, rehabilitation, elevation and mitigation, the state Department of Community Affairs has launched the reNew Jersey Stronger housing assistance initiative which will provide $780 million in grants to assist those who are eligible.

Homes in Mantoloking damaged by Sandy (Townsquare Media)

"Right after the storm, some 300,000 New Jerseyans had damage of some sort, 250,000 registered for FEMA assistance, of that, some 40,000 had major or severe damage," said Richard Constable, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. "Major damage is defined as damage in excess of $8,000 but less than $28,800 and severe damage is considered more than $28,800 in damage. There are 40,000 New Jerseyans who suffered that level of damage and that's who we're focused on with this program."

The housing assistance program comes less than a month after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approved New Jersey's Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Action Plan. The Action Plan details how the State will utilize $1,829,520,000 in federal funding to help homeowners, renters, businesses and communities impacted by Sandy. The reNew Jersey Stronger initiative will utilize $780 million of that allocation.

"The $600 million program entitled Homeowner Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation, or RREM, will provide eligible homeowners with up to $150,000 in aid to help them with their damaged primary homes. It's designed to fill the gap between the costs needed to repair the home and other sources of funds the homeowners receive for the repair," said Constable.

The Homeowner Resettlement Program is a $180 million program that is aimed at encouraging Sandy-impacted homeowners to remain in the nine counties that were most seriously affected by the storm. The program will provide $10,000 grants to those eligible to encourage them to resettle in their existing home or resettle in the same county in an effort to restore home values and stabilize devastated communities. The nine counties include Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union.

For more information, visit or call 1-855-SANDYHM, or 1-855-726-3946.