The New Jersey RREM Program – A Quick Guide
The New Jersey RREM Program at a Glance
The Reconstruction Rehabilitation, Elevation, and Mitigation Program (New Jersey RREM Program) in the state of New Jersey is a grant program that assists homeowners in rebuilding and repairing their homes that were damaged during Superstorm Sandy in October, 2012.
Because it is a grant program, homeowners are not required to pay the money back to the state of NJ – it’s not a loan. However, the program is need-based, so homeowners are required to qualify in order to apply for the grant and have an opportunity to be a grant beneficiary.
How Much Money is Involved in the New Jersey RREM Program?
Currently, $600 Million in federal and state funds have been allocated for this particular grant program that is managed by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) in New Jersey. Qualifying homeowners are eligible to receive up to $150,000 in grant money to offset the cost of repairs to renovate or rebuild their homes.
Part of the qualifying process includes a New Jersey RREM Program Manager reviewing each homeowner application to gain an understanding of how much money, and from where, the homeowner has already received. Since we are now 18 months removed from the storm, thousands of homeowners and business owners have been able to navigate the tricky processes and have been awarded some money from the state, their insurance companies, FEMA, the Small Business Administration, and various other non-profit and aid organizations. These monies will all be taken into account to determine who is eligible for the RREM grant money.
Who is Eligible for the RREM Grant?
Although the application process is a bit more in depth, there are certain basic eligibility requirements for applying homeowners, which you can review here.
First, the home in question must be the primary home, not a secondary home or investment property. Of course, the home in question must have been owned by the applicant at the time of the storm – the grant does not apply to people who are buying damaged homes.
Second, the total amount of damage must be greater than $8,000 or the home must have been subject to at least one foot of flooding. Chances are that if you had one foot of flood water, your damage is going to be much more than $8,000 anyway.
Third, there are income qualifications that favor more needy homeowners over homeowners who may have the financial means to repair their homes without grant money. Is this fair? Life isn’t fair, but with a limited piggy bank for the New Jersey RREM Program, this is one of the only equitable ways to distribute money in the aftermath of a natural disaster of this magnitude.
Where Do I Learn More?
You can read more about all of this on the New Jersey RREM Program Website, including a thorough list of Frequently Asked Questions.
Also, as we realize that many situations are unique and it can be a bit frustrating trying to get answers from government agencies, you may contact us here at Rebuild New Jersey. I’ll admit that I am no RREM expert, but we have relationships with several local contractors who have become experts in a very short period of time because they deal with this on a daily basis.
The best Jersey Shore contractors are the ones who are helping homeowners gather information and guiding them through the grant application process. If you would like some insight from a reliable local contractor, including an estimate of what it will cost to raise, demo, or rebuild your home, contact us today by clicking this button:
How Do I Apply for the RREM Grant?
Unfortunately, as of August 1, 2013, the program is no longer taking applications. As you can imagine, there were thousands of homeowners who applied for a limited quantity of money. We have heard that there were 17,000 applications and 4,000 were accepted, so they are working through the first round of applicants.
The New Jersey RREM Program is a brand new program in New Jersey and also in the United States. The DCA is rolling it out slowly, but I personally think they are doing a good job with it by taking it slowly but doing it well (unlike some other big government programs that were rolled out too quickly and resulted in a mess – but I won’t name names).
How Do I Find a RREM Contractor?
Currently, there are 48 contractors and professionals who have been approved by the DCA, but you don’t have to rebuild with one of them – you are welcome to hire your own contractor and still use your awarded grant money.
This is a large topic and we will get into it in an upcoming article.
For now, feel free to browse our contractor directory here at Rebuild NJ or click the button below.