Ocean County Press Release

TOMS RIVER - The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders is joining with local Congressional leaders to strongly oppose an effort to divert more than half of the remaining federal Sandy aid dollars to other regions of the country.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently announced that it was considering redirecting more than $2 billion in federal aid originally earmarked for Superstorm Sandy victims to other areas of the nation impacted by natural disasters.

The money would come from a $3.6 billion fund set aside for rebuilding following the storm.

"The federal government wants to take the money still promised to Sandy victims and divide it up across the country. This is completely unacceptable and a slap in the face to all of the Sandy victims still awaiting help 18 months after the storm," said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari.

Vicari fired off a letter to the state's Congressional Delegation urging them to join with Senators from New Jersey and New York in opposing HUD's efforts.

"Just the thought of any proposed action to redirect these Sandy relief funds is truly unconscionable," Vicari said in the letter. "The citizens of New Jersey and New York directly affected by the worst storm ever to hit this area are as, if not more, deserving of the federal government's help."

Vicari said New Jersey residents pay more than their fair share of federal taxes, yet the state consistently ranks near the bottom when it comes to federal dollars returning to the state.
"It would be one thing if all of our citizens have been made whole and are all sleeping in their homes," Vicari said. "But the sad fact of the matter is thousands continue to remain displaced. Many still hanging onto the hope that funding promised to the state will be available to them."

Vicari added that HUD's plan would do nothing more than create a competition among different regions that would end in additional hardships for the storm victims.

"This money was allocated for our families and businesses owners and we will fight hard to ensure that they receive the help they need and deserve," Vicari said.

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