It took a while for those affected by Hurricane Sandy to get life back in working order. Flooding from the storm surge destroyed homes, electrical lines and roads took months to repair and people went without heat during the coldest stretch of autumn. It took even longer for government and state aide to reach victims of the storm but that is all about to change as Sandy recovery projects are expected to be finished faster, much faster. According to the Daily Journal, New Jersey officials will accelerate spending on a housing program that had a bit of a shaky start.
How much has been spent?
At the end of March the state had only spent around 25% of the aid they had been given by the federal government last year which was in the region of $1.8 billion. Not exactly an inspiring figure. But between March 30th and June 30th the state has been spending big as it tries to spur on a housing program that looked dead in the water just a few months ago. $592 million of the $1.8 billion has been spent with $179 million of that going to homeowner’s between April and the end of June. The investment has been long overdue but homeowner’s and contractors should both see an increase in renovations and rebuilding before we see the first snow come down.
What took so long?
The housing program was supposed to be up and on its feet almost immediately, but, like most things that are launched too quickly it collapsed under its’ own weight. Paperwork was lost, money did not flow into the program as expected and homeowner’s received mixed signals from the state and those contractors who were working on the project.
April marked a turning point for the program. As investment in the program increased so too did the program’s performance. Over 1,600 home inspections were completed and lines of communication were more transparent between contractors, government officials and homeowners.
What happens when the $1.8 billion dries up?
Since the state is nearly a third of the way through the initial $1.8 billion given to them by the federal government some may wonder if the state can keep up its’ current levels of spending. The short answer is, yes, they can. A second federal recovery package worth $1.4 billion will arrive later this year which will keep the pace of rebuilding high thereby providing new homes for those affected by the storm and jobs for contractors who may be looking for more projects.