Menendez Leads NJ Delegation in Urging FEMA to Extend Deadline for Sandy Survivors to Complete Mitigation Projects

Menendez Leads NJ Delegation in Urging FEMA to Extend Deadline for Sandy Survivors to Complete Mitigation Projects

   

NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, chair of the Sandy Task Force and a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee that oversees the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), today led the New Jersey congressional delegation’s call for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide Superstorm Sandy survivors a one-year extension of a critical flood mitigation program many have relied on to raise their homes or fortify their properties.  Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage under the NFIP provides flood victims with up to $30,000 to help cover the costs of mitigation efforts, but requires the project be completed within six years.  Many New Jerseyans are still struggling to recover after Superstorm Sandy struck in October 2012.

“In light of the long delays in recovery for the survivors of Superstorm Sandy, including those participating in federally-funded housing recovery programs, many such homeowners will remain unable to complete ICC projects by the October 29 deadline that is fast approaching,” the delegation wrote in a letter to FEMA Administrator Brock Long. “A one-year extension, which you are authorized to grant by law via an administrative waiver, is therefore both desperately needed and entirely appropriate under the circumstances.”

ICC coverage is an important resource for NFIP policyholders who need additional help rebuilding and reducing future flood. The program helps homeowners save on their flood insurance premiums, while also increasing property values, which in turn helps boost the local economy.

“The survivors of Superstorm Sandy have been through almost unimaginable trials and tribulations over the past five and a half years, from chronic underpayment of flood insurance proceeds to a broken state-run rebuilding program,” the letter continued.  “They paid premiums into the ICC – many for decades – and they should not be cut off from receiving this badly needed assistance due to an arbitrary deadline.”

Joining Sen. Menendez on the letter are Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Reps. Donald Norcross (D-N.J.-01), Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.-02), Chris Smith (R-N.J.-04), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.-05), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.-06), Leonard Lance (R-N.J.-07), Albio Sires (D-N.J.-08), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.-09), Donald Payne, Jr. (D-N.J.-10), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.-11) and Bonnie Watson-Coleman (D-N.J.-12).

Last year, Sen. Menendez introduced comprehensive, bipartisan legislation to extend the NFIP for six years while instituting a series of sweeping reforms to address the waste, abuse and mismanagement plaguing the system that led to delayed recovery for Sandy survivors.  The bill, which was cosponsored by Sen. Booker and later introduced by Rep. Pallone in the House, includes provisions that would increase the maximum limit for ICC coverage to better reflect the costs of mitigation projects, and expand the program’s eligibility in order to encourage more proactive mitigation before natural disasters strike.

Full text of the letter can be found here and below.

March 26, 2018

William B. “Brock” Long

Administrator

Federal Emergency Management Agency

500 C Street SW

Washington, D.C. 20472

Dear Administrator Long:

We are writing to express our strong support for a one-year extension of the deadline for Superstorm Sandy survivors to complete Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) projects through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  While we all hope homeowners can complete their mitigation projects as quickly as possible, many disaster victims need more time to finish the process and the ICC deadline threatens to derail these efforts. 

As you know, homeowners with NFIP policies pay a premium each year for ICC coverage which provides up to $30,000 towards the often significant cost of elevating, moving or otherwise flood-proofing their home in order to come into compliance with State or local floodplain management laws or ordinances.  In light of the long delays in recovery for the survivors of Superstorm Sandy, including those participating in federally-funded housing recovery programs, many such homeowners will remain unable to complete ICC projects by the October 29 deadline that is fast approaching. A one-year extension, which you are authorized to grant by law via an administrative waiver, is therefore both desperately needed and entirely appropriate under the circumstances.

The ICC program is crucial for homeowners and good for the community. It is an example of upfront investments paying large dividends over the long-run by reducing the severity and frequency of flood damage.  Not only does this help save homeowners on their flood insurance premiums, it can also increase property values and makes the community stronger as a whole. 

The survivors of Superstorm Sandy have been through almost unimaginable trials and tribulations over the past five and a half years, from chronic underpayment of flood insurance proceeds to a broken state-run rebuilding program.  They paid premiums into the ICC – many for decades – and they should not be cut off from receiving this badly needed assistance due to an arbitrary deadline.  We urge you to extend this deadline to ensure all Sandy survivors have the opportunity to rebuild stronger, safer, and more resilient.   

Sincerely,