OCEAN TWP -- Following the five-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey said they are as committed as ever to advancing legislation addressing the continuing struggles of Sandy victims. Houghtaling and Downey have already sponsored legislation protecting Sandy homeowners from foreclosure and boosting disaster preparedness across New Jersey, and are now looking toward the next legislative session to continue their work on behalf of families and small businesses impacted by Sandy.
“Years after the fact we still have residents who are out of their homes or fighting with corrupt contractors, and suffering under an enormous financial burden through no fault of their own. That is simply unacceptable,” said Downey (D-Monmouth), “Assemblyman Houghtaling and I have been and will continue to introduce legislation that will finally ensure every family impacted by Sandy can return home.”
Houghtaling and Downey have sponsored a number of bills related to Sandy recovery that have gone on to become law, including a measure extending building permits for communities still recovering from Sandy and a law that established a mortgage forbearance program for Sandy-impacted homeowners, to ward off the threat of foreclosure. Houghtaling and Downey also sponsored notable legislation concerning Sandy projects funded through the Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) and Low to Moderate Income Homeowners Rebuilding (LMI) programs. The bill, which was later signed into law, increased transparency, ensured fairness of project deadlines, and reduced costly bureaucratic setbacks for Sandy-impacted homeowners.
“Unfortunately, we’ve seen a lot of corruption in the wake of Sandy, as people try to take advantage of residents who are still rebuilding, and that’s something we need to help deal with legislatively,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). Houghtaling served as Mayor of Neptune Township in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, “I was involved in rebuilding efforts in my hometown of Neptune, and I saw how we were able to bounce back. Now, we have to ensure no one is left behind or forgotten, because five years later we still have residents recovering and rebuilding."