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Hudson event to aid Sandy recovery

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Habitat for Humanity of Hudson County (HFHHC) will hold a “Raise the Roof FUN-raiser” Thursday, April 25, at 6 p.m. at the Hudson County Community College Culinary Arts Center, 161 Newkirk St., Jersey City.

Proceeds are going, in part, to support “Habitat Helping Hands,” a program designed to help low-income homeowners recover from damage caused by Hurricane Sandy and other home ownership support programs.

Greg Strid, co-executive director of HFHHC, said the organization has been awarded a $94,800 grant by the Hurricane Sandy N.J. Relief Fund to help carry forward the goals of Habitat Helping Hands. Strid said the money will be used for staffing and building materials for several “moderate-scale Sandy repair projects” still to be identified.

Strid said the organization has also received a $25,000 emergency grant from the Robin Hood Foundation’s Relief Fund that will be used for the purchase of building materials in Sandy fix-up projects. And, this past December, it was the recipient of a $15,000 grant from Kearny Federal Savings’ Charitable Foundation for the same program, he said.

Strid said a county-wide needs assessment of Sandyimpacted communities would be performed later this spring to help HFHHC determine which projects to work on.

The need for help has been documented, in part, Strid said, by these statistics from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which, he said, received 22,000 applications for storm-recovery assistance from Hudson County – “the fourth highest number of applications for Superstorm Sandy after Ocean, Monmouth and Atlantic counties.”

Those applications have resulted in FEMA payments of more than $25 million to Hudson County residents – “the fourth highest total individual assistance payout in the state,” Strid said.

Among those recipients, said Strid, were 21 Hudson residents – spread among five communities – who “received the maximum [individual] award of $31,900.”

Fewer than 10% of the applicants were covered by some type of flood insurance, Strid said.

Hudson is one of nine counties eligible for a portion of the $1.8 billion in federal Community Development Block Grant funds earmarked for New Jersey. Those nine counties accounted for 92% of reported Sandy-caused housing damage in the state, Strid noted.

– Ron Leir

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