Tag Archives: Sandy

State Sens. Gordon & Weinberg ask why NJ did not get most of the Sandy recovery funds HUD wanted to give us

Sandy impact
Source: NJ National Guard. New Jersey National Guard in flooded Hoboken following Hurricane Sandy
State Senators Bob Gordon and Loretta Weinberg are deeply concerned that Christie’s administration failed to submit a disaster resilience grant application to the federal government which would have empowered HUD to give us hundreds of millions of dollars they had earmarked to help New Jersey residents.

For New Jerseyans, who suffered more heavily from the ravages of superstorm Sandy than the residents of any other state, last month’s announcement of federal disaster resilience grants by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development hit like a nor’easter.

Of the $1 billion being awarded by HUD in Natural Disaster Resilience Competition grants, a minimum of $181 million had been set aside for New Jersey and New York thanks to the hard work of our congressional delegation.

That’s why it was so shocking when New Jersey received just $15 million.

New York City and New York State received a total of $212 million, but New Jersey ranked 14th on the grant list, just ahead of the city of Springfield, Massachusetts. The last time we looked, Springfield didn’t have much of a coastline.

The state’s failure is just the latest example of New Jersey coming in way behind New York in obtaining federal aid to rebuild after superstorm Sandy. New York City and New York State received $8.6 billion in Community Development Block Grants — twice as much as New Jersey’s $4.2 billion — and the $1.7 billion we received in Federal Emergency Management Agency grants is dwarfed by the $7.7 billion that went to New York.

That is why Senate President Stephen Sweeney asked our Senate Legislative Oversight Committee to open hearings on why New Jersey has consistently failed to obtain the funding needed to protect residents from Bergen County to Cape May from the ravages of coastal and inland flooding, and on what we should be doing to protect the state against sea-level rise and climate change.

Our first hearing earlier this month started to get some answers, and we will have a fuller understanding when officials from HUD, the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Rockefeller Foundation, which was retained by HUD to advise applicants, appear before the committee at a future hearing.

NorthJersey.com reports on the NJ Legislative Oversight Hearings held on 11 February 2016:

Several witnesses … raised questions about what New Jersey chose to include and not include in its application, including a bus station in the Meadowlands.

“One of the things about this application that really astonished me and I still don’t understand and I just wished someone could explain it to me in a way that makes sense, is how building a bus station in the Meadowlands protects anybody from flooding?” said Bill Sheehan of the Hackensack Riverkeeper environmental group.

Sheehan, after the hearing, questioned whether requests like that had less to do with flood control and more to do with the fact that the state’s Transportation Trust Fund is nearly out of money.

This is not a partisan issue. As Republican Sen. Joseph Kyrillos, who represents the Monmouth County Bayshore that suffered some of the most severe damage from Sandy, said at the hearing, it is the responsibility of the Legislature to hold federal and state officials accountable.

What we learned so far is just the beginning of that process.

We already know that HUD Secretary Julian Castro said New Jersey received less funding not because the state did not have great need for storm resilience projects, but because our application was weaker than most other states. In fact, we just made the minimum cutoff to receive any funding at all.

While most winning applicants identified significant matching funds and were working closely with regional nonprofits on climate change initiatives, New Jersey received just 1 point out of a possible 10 for “leveraging” other funding. Furthermore, we also got marked down on “scalability” for failing to present proposals that could be implemented even if we only received partial funding.

We need to find out if the state received adequate feedback from HUD and the Rockefeller Foundation that deficiencies in our proposal could jeopardize our chances to win the needed funding. But there are clearly questions at the state level as well.

New Jersey’s two main proposals were for a $231 million grant for construction of a berm and pumping stations to protect towns in the Meadowlands from flooding and for a $75 million satellite bus garage in Secaucus.

What our initial hearing showed was that the Meadowlands berm project was controversial — and indeed was opposed by environmentalists. And, as we pointed out, a proposal for a $75 million bus garage seems less like a proposal to protect the Meadowlands against climate change than an attempt to get the federal government to pay for a new bus garage because the Transportation Trust Fund is out of money.

The most disconcerting part of the hearing was the heart-wrenching testimony by Monmouth and Ocean County Sandy survivors who rightfully questioned why New Jersey did not apply for any funding for projects to protect homeowners in the Jersey Shore counties that sustained the lion’s share of Sandy damage.

Questions also were raised about whether New Jersey’s reluctance to embrace climate change gave HUD “political reasons” to deny our application. While New York State has developed a comprehensive mitigation and adaptation plan, is mapping for climate change and sea-level rise, and is increasing its green building and energy efficiency standards, New Jersey is the only state bordering either the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean that does not have a plan to deal with climate change and sea-level rise.

As a coastal state that relies so heavily on tourism to drive our economy and boost state revenues, we cannot afford to ignore the challenges posed by climate change and sea-level rise, and we certainly cannot afford to lose out on federal grants designed to protect our citizens against the ravages of future megastorms.

We need to know why we fared so poorly on federal Sandy grant funding, and we need to know how we can do better in the future. The victims of Sandy deserve no less.

Sen. Bob Gordon, D-Bergen/Passaic, and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, serve as chair and vice-chair of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee.

Additional Sandy recovery coverage available at Asbury Park Press

Portable Generator Safety

To avoid carbon monoxide hazard/poisoning when using a portable generator:

portable generator
• Always use generators outdoors, away from doors, windows and vents.
• NEVER use generators in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, or other enclosed or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation.
• Follow manufacturer’s instructions.
• Install battery-operated or plug-in (with battery backup) carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home, following manufacturer’s instructions.
• Test CO alarms often and replace batteries when needed.
To Avoid Electrical Hazards:
• Keep the generator dry. Operate on a dry surface under an open, canopy- like structure.
• Dry your hands before touching the generator.
• Plug appliances directly into generator or use a heavy-duty outdoor- rated extension cord. Make sure the entire extension cord is free of cuts or tears and the plug has all 3 prongs, especially a grounding pin.
• NEVER plug the generator into a wall outlet. This practice, known as backfeeding, can cause an electrocution risk to utility workers and others served by the same utility transformer.
• If necessary to connect generator to house wiring to power appliances, have a qualified electrician install appropriate equipment. Or, your utility company may be able to install an appropriate transfer switch.
To Avoid Fire Hazards:
• Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.
• Always store fuel outside of living areas in properly labeled, non-glass containers.
• Store fuel away from any fuel-burning appliance.

FEMA Assistance for Sandy Victims

President Obama at FEMA HQ planning help for Sandy victims
Información en español

Get general aid information and FEMA application information for specific counties in states Sandy hit hardest – Connecticut, New York, New Jersey & New Hampshire – that can apply right now. After a resident applies for assistance, a FEMA inspector will be assigned to assess the damage and determine what assistance the resident qualifies for. Then a check can be issued, or in the case of business owners, a referral will be made to the Small Business Administration for low-interest loan assistance.

  • Apply for FEMA Aid
  • Apply Online at DisasterAssistance.gov
  • Apply via a smartphone at m.fema.gov
  • Apply by Phone: Call (800) 621-3362

These are the kinds of assistance available from FEMA:

  • Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable. Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters. Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements.
  • Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary, and functional.
  • Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs.
  • Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals.
  • Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance. Loans are available up to $200,000 for the primary residence and $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses. Loans are available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance.
  • Loans up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, nonprofit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster’s adverse economic impact. This loan, in combination with a property loss loan, cannot exceed a total of $2 million.
  • Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers, and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence.

Emergency help in New Jersey towns (post-Sandy)

As we learn of help and resources available in New Jersey towns for victims of Hurricane Sandy, we’re posting them, along with special information about school closures and other important local information.

  • Very Important Tips/Announcements

  • If you bought a generator from Costco DO NOT USE IT! Its causing FIRES!

Municipal Closures and Enforcement Changes

  • Fair Lawn

  • Emergency Information: Overnight parking restriction suspended (you may park on the street) until Monday, Nov. 5 2012. Check for parking updates at 201-794-5399
  • Garbage pick-up is suspended temporarily. Residents may bring household garbage and recyclables to the DPW at 20-05 Saddle River Road
  • Charging Stations
    Fair Lawn Community Center on Kipp Street and Berdan Road on Thursday 11/1 Friday 11/2 7am-9pm Sat 11/3 9am-9pm & Sun 11/3 9am-5pm. Fair Lawn High School has charging stations from 10am-2pm Fri on 11/2
  • Showers
    Showers available at the Community Center on Kipp Street and Berdan Road
  • Contacts
    Kurt Peluso 201-410-1558
  • Hackensack

  • Emergency information: for all emergencies call 911. City offices re-opened Thursday, Nov. 1 2012. They are experiencing limited telephone service. Curfew is in effect from 6pm to 6am daily until further notice. Schools are closed until Monday, Nov 5 2012.
  • Local businesses open
    Target on Hackensack Ave
    Home Depot on Hackensack Avenue
    Costco on So. River Street
    Burger King on Hackensack Avenue
    711 on Main Street & State Street
    Deli Mart on Main Street
    Farmers Market on Passaic Street
    Lucky Farms on South Summit Avenue
  • Hoboken

  • FOOD
    A food truck capable of serving hundreds of meals will be at the Capital One Bank parking lot (3rd and Washington) serving free meals to the public this afternoon. Food trucks from throughout the region are invited into Hoboken to help feed our community.
  • The Elks Club will also be serving food to the public this afternoon. The Fire Department pumped out the loading dock for the A&P supermarket, which is expecting a delivery and hoping to open today.
  • Water tankers are available at 1st & Washington and 315 Hudson St (bring your own container)
  • Irvington

  • Resources are being organized and communicated by Mayor Wayne Smith. Call his cell at 973-219-5245 or text him a number so he can call you back. Mayor Smith’s Facebook Page
  • CITY CONTACT INFO (may not be working)
    • Fire Dept: 973-399-6555
    • Police Dept: 973-399-6600
    • Mayor Office:973-399-6639
    First Congressional Christian United Methodist Church at 1240 Clinton Avenue Irvington Ave (off civic Square). Call if you have mobility difficulties and need transportation.
  • Chris Gatling Center at 285 Union Avenue Irvington 973-399-6597
    There are food stores open on Springfield Avenue in Irvington from Grove Street up to the Maplewood line
  • Jersey City

    Emergency information: Curfew is in effect from 7pm to 7am daily until further notice.

  • Newark

  • Resources and advisories are being communicated by the mayor via Twitter @corybooker or for non-emergency assistance call 973-266-4111 (if not working try 973-877-9323, 973-733-9326, 973-733-9321 or 973-733-9325)
  • FOOD
  • Hot meals are being served daily to residents in Newark affected by Sandy at these locations
  • 502 Summer Avenue
  • 595 Mt. Prospect Avenue
  • 444 Mt. Prospect Avenue
  • 136 Tiffany Boulevard
  • 1 Court Street
  • 2 Speedway Drive
  • 285 Burnett Street
  • 1060 Broad Street
  • Shabazz High School
  • JFK High School
    NPS is hosting shelters for those in need at West Side, MX Shabazz, and Samuel Berliner. You can go to a shelter to stay overnight or just to warm up, and you can shower at some of them. Some serve food too.
    • Newark Public Schools closed Monday and Tuesday (Nov 5&6) for CHILDREN
  • Xtra Super 930 Broadway; meat counter open till 8pm store open till 9pm (973) 484-7200
  • Pathmark Supermarket 281 Ferry St Open 24 hours (973) 589-3922
  • Met Food Market 514 Ferry St Open till 8 pm (973) 817-9333
  • Extra Supermarket 125 Avon Ave Open till 8 pm (973) 504-9696
  • C Town Supermarket 120 Clinton Ave #Newark Open till 6 or 7. Call (973) 642-3363
  • Brothers Supermarket 525 Springfield Ave #Newark (973) 481-6499 Open till 8 pm
  • Bravo Supermarket 260 Roseville Ave Open till 8 pm (973) 485-6170
  • Twin City 611 Broadway open till 8 pm.
  • Fatima Supermarket 111 Wilson open till 10 pm, lines are not long.
  • Pathmark 167 Bergen St. restocking shelves now. Open 24 hours with average lines.
  • Seabra’s Ferry Street & Wilson Ave. locations are open. Chestnut Street is closed
  • Newark Pulse website and Facebook Page
  • On Twitter: @newnewark @sustainablenwk Newark Green Drinks/Green Wei
  • Newark Museum Free to public Sat/Sun Nov 3&4 12-5pm
  • Nubian Flavor Restaurant at 410 Springfield Avenue 973-242-2238 – Free coffee and charging stations till 7pm
  • Newark Museum writes: As we deal with the aftermath of the storm, we invite you to come in, relax, get warm, and enjoy the beautiful art in our 80 galleries. The Museum is offering free admission this Saturday and Sunday, and we welcome you to participate in art and science activities for children, and group tours; charge your smart phone; and enjoy free WiFi.
  • New Brunswick

  • New Brunswick Elks Lodge is hosting a FREE SOUP KITCHEN to help those that would like a warm meal and something warm to drink.
  • Passaic

  • Street parking enforcement suspended through 11/4
  • UPO on Myrtle Avenue by #11 school is open Fri/Sat/Sun Nov 3-4 12-5pm. All are welcome to come and drink coffee, charge your phone or plan a meeting.
  • Plainfield/Fanwood

  • Emergency information: Curfew is in effect from 7pm to 6am daily.
    Rebecca Williams on Facebook
  • Washington School 427 Darrow Street between West 7th & West 4th Streets! (hot food, charging stations, cots)
  • Fire Division Engine 3 Station (1147 West Third Street) has been set up as a food distribution center and charging station.
  • Emerson School is being used as a resource center
  • List of other shelters throughout New Jersey

  • Bergen County: Bergen Community College, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus
  • Cumberland County: Red Cross Shelters at: Cumberland County College, 3322 College Drive., Vineland
  • Cumberland County:  Vo-Tech, 601 Bridgeton Ave., Bridgeton
  • Essex County: Codey Arena at the Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex in West Orange can house 150 people.
  • Maplewood: DeHart Community Center in DeHart Park, 120 Burnett Road
  • Caldwell Community Center, 1 Provost Square – is open as a warming center from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Livingston High School and Seton Hall University are open as overnight shelters
  • Red Cross Shelter: JFK Recreation Center, 211 West Kinney Avenue, Newark
  • Middlesex County: Carl Sandburg Middle School, Route 516, just off of Route 9 North in Old Bridge.
  • Woodbridge Community Center 600 Main Street – for area residents in need of continuous supervised medical care. Pets accepted.
  • Carteret: Carteret Middle School, Carteret Ave.
  • Nathan Hale School, Haywood and Roosevelt Avenues
  • East Brunswick, Trinity Baptist Church, Cranbury Road
  • Edison: Edison Senior Center, 2963 Woodbridge Avenue
  • Milltown, Firehouses on Cottage Avenue and South Main Street
  • Monroe High School
  • Sayreville Historical Museum, 425 Main Street, Sayreville
  • Medical-needs and special needs shelter has opened at Woodbridge Community Center, 600 Main Street
  • Monmouth County: MAC Center at Monmouth University in West Long Branch
  • Arthur Brisbane Child Treatment Center, 4240 Allaire Road, Farmingdale
  • Salem County: Salem Community College
  • Somerset County: Hillsborough Municipal Building, 379 South Branch Road, Hillsborough
  • North Plainfield High School, 100 Brooks Blvd. – accepting pets but owner must stay at separate location.
  • Somerville Branch of the Somerset Valley YMCA, 2 Green Street – open to all who lost power from 5 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. call (908) 722-4567
  • Union County: Cranford Community Center, 220 Walnut Street – pets accepted
  • Emerson Elementary School, 305 Emerson Avenue, Plainfield
  • Ralph Froehlich Public Safety Building, lower lobby, 300 North Avenue East, Westfield – free public mobile phone(only) charging station, laptops and other devices cannot be charged here.
  • Warren County: The Trinity Church, 213 Main Street – overnight shelter for Hackettstown residents only, bring own pillows, blankets, food, medicines, books, games, or sleeping bags. Charging station – NO PETS