Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group Provides Solutions for Homeowners in New Jersey’s RREM Program Will NJ Learn the Lessons from Hurricane Katrina? TOMS RIVER, NJ (February 10, 2015) – The Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group (OCLTRG) is offering assistance to help households in the State’s Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program. This assistance includes supportive disaster case management, flexible resources to address unmet needs, RREM education, guidance and advocacy. Since September 2014, OCLTRG has held 18 RREM workshops throughout the Jersey Shore. These workshops have provided critical education to up to 608 households in the RREM program covering topics including: understanding the steps of the RREM program; breaking through barriers that delay a RREM project; avoiding the common pitfalls that delay or compromise grant compliance and crafting a successful recovery and rebuilding plan. “The key to success in the RREM program is not simply to get home, but to ensure that the home is in compliance with the grant requirements. The unique educational and supportive services being offered by the Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group are a vital link for all residents who are still struggling to utilize their RREM grants to get back home and be in compliance,” said Carmen Amato, Mayor of Berkeley Township. According to the New Jersey’s Recovery Dashboard there are 8,159 Homeowners Preliminary-Awarded Funds (as of 2/8/15). The State also reported that 330 projects have been completed (Superstorm Sandy Performance Report 4Q 2014). Completed projects represent just 4% of the total number of Homeowners Preliminary-Awarded Funds. On January 28, 2015, the OCLTRG formally presented a request to Terrence Brody, Executive Director of the Office of Recovery and Rebuilding, for inclusion in the State’s CDBG-DR (Action Plan 3) that must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) this month. OCLTRG and its partners – A Future with Hope and the Affordable Housing Alliance, have requested a total of $20 million to assist households in the nine most impacted counties. Without funding from the State, OCLTRG, the State’s largest Long Term Recovery Group, will not have the resources to continue its program beyond 2015 while thousands of households remain in need of services. “The Shreveport Times recently reported that 9 years after Hurricane Katrina, there are approximately 18,000 Louisiana homeowners who collectively owe $522 million dollars to the Federal Government because they are in non-compliance with the State’s Road Home Grant Program. The three primary reasons cited for households in non-compliance are: homeowners used grants to keep their heads above water; the grants didn’t fully cover repair costs and there were many instances of contractor fraud. As a State we have to take the lessons from Katrina and learn from them. Our Long Term Recovery Group wants to be a partner with the State to help get families back home in full compliance. Households should not have to fear recoupment. With the right RREM education and supportive disaster case management, we can help families finish their recovery from Superstorm Sandy faster and in full compliance,” said Sue Marticek OCLTRG’s Executive Director. If you would like to attend a RREM Workshop or are in need of Disaster Case Management please contact the OCLTRG by phone or email at 732-569-3484 or firstname.lastname@example.org About OCLTRG: The Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group (OCLTRG) is a network of community leaders from faith-based, nonprofit, governmental, business and other organizations that coordinate recovery efforts for those disaster victims in Ocean County, NJ communities. OCLTRG works to streamline the dissemination of information and allocation of resources across federal, state, and local organizations to those victims most in need of disaster relief.