Federal rental aid for Sandy-hit residents ending

Only 1 percent of initial recipients remain in program

New Jersey coast during Hurricane Sandy
New Jersey coast during Hurricane Sandy

Federal rental assistance that aided more than 1,000 New York and New Jersey families in the wake of Hurricane Sandy will run out on Thursday.

The benefit, distributed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was administered to help homeowners and renters land temporary apartments in the wake of the 2012 storm’s damage. But on Thursday, roughly 1,300 households will lose the benefit, according to FEMA figures cited by the Wall Street Journal.

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Lawmakers in New Jersey petitioned the White House to extend the benefit earlier this year, and succeeded in having the cutoff extended through August for 57 families currently residing in FEMA-issued trailers at New Jersey’s Fort Monmouth military base. But a FEMA spokesperson told the Journal that 99 percent of the rental aid recipients have long since departed the program. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, along with state governments, are working to coordinate long-term assistance for those in need, according to the Journal.

“FEMA continues to work on a one-on-one basis with disaster survivors in support of this mission,” the spokesperson told the paper.

A total of 137,928 households received rental assistance in five states following the storm, including New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maryland, according to FEMA figures cited by the paper. But since the storm’s end the number of recipients has steadily diminished, falling to 589 New York households getting rental aid as of early April, from a high of 90,944. In New Jersey, the number has fallen from 711 households to a high of 44,592 after the storm, the Journal reported. [WSJ]Julie Strickland