Law Requires Transparency on Sandy Aid in New Jersey

Housing activists are lauding a new law that requires more transparency in how aid for victims of Superstorm Sandy is distributed in New Jersey.

The measure was adopted unanimously in both chambers of the state Legislature in June and signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie on Monday.

It requires the state to create a timeline laying out roughly when people who apply for assistance under the state-run programs will receive word on whether they are accepted.

People who apply would also receive personalized timelines.

It also sets a deadline for the state to distribute funds in its main housing rebuilding program by the end of September 2017. In the meantime, it calls for at least half of the recipients to receive half or more of their awarded funding by the end of this year.

Another provision calls for the state Department of Community Affairs to report on its progress to the governor and lawmakers.

There have been complaints that New Jersey has been slow to distribute aid to those hit hard by the storms.

Some of the groups that have criticized the state's handling of recovery funds have been praising the new law.

"Providing Sandy survivors with easy access to timely information about their status is critical to getting people back into their homes and communities," Staci Berger, president of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, said in a statement Friday.

"This will allow them to find out quickly and easily where they stand in the process which will help them make the best decisions for their future," she said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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