The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) released a report earlier this week that shows nearly half of all applications to the Low- and Moderate Income Homeowners Rebuilding Program, which was set up to help those displaced by Hurricane Sandy, were rejected, Think Progress reported.
As a result, the New Jersey Organizing Project started a bus tour to give those affected by the storm a platform from which to talk about the ineffective management of the Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation Program (RREM).
According to the Fair Share Housing Center, 11,000 of the 15,000 applicants to the RREM are still waiting for help.
“Low and moderate income [families], they’re the ones that have the littlest voice and get screwed the most and they can’t stick up for themselves,” Joe Karcz, who’s moved 13 times since Sandy, told TP. “Even when I’m back in my house, I’ll be speaking out for those low income and I’ll speak up for my neighbors and I’ll keep it up until everybody’s home and nobody has to go through this bullshit anymore.”
Much of the blame for the failed programs deservedly falls on Gov. Chris Christie (R), who has been accused of using relief funds to promote himself.
“That money in the pipeline — he’s sitting on it and he’s using that money for his presidential hopes,” said Karcz. “I’ve sat with him and I’ve looked him eye-to-eye and he says ‘you’re not going back in that mold infested house.’ And you know what? I spent two years in a row in that mold infested house. So I don’t take anything Christie says to heart.”
Last year, federal officials launched an investigation into Christie’s misuse of the relief funds, claiming the governor used the money to promote both tourism and himself.
The governor has continually ignored or berated victims who confront him about his botched relief efforts, even going so far as to tell one man to “sit down and shut up.”
Christie only pretends to care about the residents of New Jersey when it benefits him politically. Otherwise, he’s perfectly ok with people living in dilapidated, mold-ridden houses or remaining homeless more than two years after the storm. He is simply another corrupt GOP bully.