SWEENEY TO CONDUCT ‘SANDY BILL OF RIGHTS’ TOUR
Will Bring Attention To Those Still Needing Help 15 Months Later
TRENTON – Promising to bring greater attention to the victims of Superstorm Sandy and their needs, Senate President Steve Sweeney today announced that he will launch a “Sandy Bill of Rights” tour. This tour will consist of stops to some of the hardest hit areas of the state, including Perth Amboy, Toms River and Moonachie.
“There are still too many people who have yet to fully recover from the devastation of Sandy,” said Sweeney. “By allowing them to tell their stories, we highlight why a ‘Sandy Bill of Rights’ is necessary. As we will see, people have been denied aid for no reason, or have no idea where they stand on a waiting list. That is unacceptable and must change.”
Senate President Sweeney will first stop in Perth Amboy on February 19th, followed by Toms River on February 21st and Moonachie on February 22nd. The exact locations and times will be announced in the coming days. Stops will include stories from those impacted as well as visits to hard hit locations.
Last week, the Senate President introduced his “Sandy Bill of Rights’ legislation. The bill would do several things, including requiring a plain language explanation of what is needed to be eligible and to apply for Sandy recovery programs; the right to know where your relief application stands and what additional information is needed; the right to know why your application was rejected or why you were placed on a waiting list and the right to appeal a denial of funding.
Recent media accounts and advocacy groups have reported various problems in the Sandy aid process. For example, some families were being told they would lose their aid for failure to provide certain documents, while others were given no such ultimatum. In other instances, numbers show that funding has been denied at higher rates for African American and Latino residents despite being equally hard hit by the storm.
A *significant number* of victims told *a series of legislative committees* that a state contractor responsible for getting people back in their homes had repeatedly lost their applications and often couldn’t answer the most basic of questions. The Christie administration quietly cancelled the contract with this firm, and state officials have said little about how they will proceed with this critical task.