Funding Resources for Homeowners and Businesses

Please Note: Although many of the programs listed on this page are no longer accepting applications, there may be local informational meetings taking place to assist those who have applied. Local events that we know about will be listed here.

Most of the programs included on this page have stopped accepting applications long ago. We continue to include information on them as a point of reference. Programs that are now closed are clearly identified as such. All active programs and resources have been moved to the top of the page for easy access.

Project Restore HOPE Provides Financial Guidance
Project Restore HOPE: Hurricane Sandy provides long-term financial recovery information, guidance and empowerment services to small businesses, families and individuals devastated by the superstorm. Included are the following financial guidance and assistance services:

  • Disaster Recovery Budget Guidance
  • Financial Case Management and Counseling
  • Insurance Claim Assistance
  • Government and Private Agency Referrals
  • Lost Document Recovery Assistance
  • Grant and Loan Application Assistance
  • Assistance Working with Creditors

Anyone affected by the devastating effects of Sandy should call the HCA toll-free hotline at 888-388-HOPE (4673) to receive the free disaster financial recovery information. Visit their website.

Business Recovery Resources
SCORE is a non-profit association dedicated to helping small businesses. The organization offers a variety of free written resources to help businesses prepare for and recover from a natural disaster. Volunteer mentors are available to help businesses affected by the storm to get back on track for the future.

Housing Recovery Centers
Housing Recovery Centers are still open and active. Staffed with educated personnel who are very familiar with the resources currently available to those still in the recovery phase of the storm, they will be able to answer questions you may have.

Housing Recovery Center Locations 
You will find housing advisors at these locations who will be able to answer any questions you have about the recovery programs mentioned on this page and guide you through the process.
Atlantic CountyServing Atlantic and Cape May counties
500 Scarborough Drive, Suite 101 
Egg Harbor Township, NJ
Phone: 973-500-3388
Hours: M-F 9:00am-6:00pm

Essex County

Serving Essex, Bergen, Hudson and Union counties
2 Gateway, 9th Floor 
Newark, NJ 
Phone: 973-500-3383
Hours: M-F 9:00am-6:00pm
Monmouth CountyServing Monmouth and Middlesex counties
3 Paragon Way, Suite 150 
Freehold, NJ 
Phone: 973-500-3396
Hours: M-F 9:00am-6:00pm
Enter Location from interior center diamond area
Ocean County750 Vassar Avenue, Suite 1 
Lakewood, NJ 
Phone: 973-500-3397
Hours: M-F 9:00am-6:00pm
Source: http://www.renewjerseystronger.org/contact/
Last update/review: 4.14.16


    Willing Seller Program
    The federal government has devoted $300 million to fund the Willing Seller Program which will give homeowners the option of selling their properties damaged by Hurricane Sandy in tidal areas of New Jersey. The buyout plan involves approximately 1,000 homes impacted by Sandy, in addition to another 300 repetitively flood-damaged homes located in the Passaic River Basin. The program is designed to give homeowners the ability to choose the best option for their individual situation.

    The offers to willing seller homeowners are expected to begin starting in July through New Jersey's existing Blue Acres Program, with the first closings expected by Labor Day and all of the closings done within one year. The initial targets will include about 350 homes in Sayreville and South River in Middlesex County that were impacted by flooding from the Raritan and South Rivers, and Delaware Bay homes in Lawrence Township in Cumberland County.

    The state is targeting clusters of homes or entire neighborhoods that were ravaged by the storm for buyouts. Those homes eventually will be razed and the areas maintained as open space that can handle future flood waters, while keeping people and property out of harm's way.

    A specially created buyout team at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is working to process sellers' applications and get the paperwork portion of this effort done quickly. The DEP has transferred personnel temporarily to handle the expected influx of willing sellers and to process the applications efficiently and help families get through the process as painlessly as possible.

    Case managers are reaching out personally to individual homeowners to help guide them through the buyout process. Property appraisals and title work will begin in June.

    Homeowners interested in selling their homes through this process also may contact the DEP's Blue Acres Program at 609-984-0500. Learn more

    Microloan Program for Small Businesses
    UCEDC, a Community Development Financial Institution and US Small Business Administration (SBA) microlender, provides access to capital to underserved populations and communities. While available to all small business owners in New Jersey, their microloan program especially supports borrowers with little to no credit history, low-income borrowers, and women and minority entrepreneurs. Loan officers are prepared to give hurricane-affected businesses top priority in the application process. Business owners can call UCEDC at 908-527-1166 to see if they qualify or they can go online.

    Emergency Preparedness Programs for Small Business at No Cost 

    New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJ OHSP) through the Private Sector Liaison conducts preparedness education and awareness programs statewide at no cost to help businesses of all sizes prepare for and recover from emergencies. These programs are also available to non-profits, colleges, civic groups, state and local agencies. For more information contact: Maybelle Jadotte-Clairvil by email or phone 609-584-4269. Read more

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) Elevation Program

As of September 16, 2013 the HMGP Elevation Program is no longer accepting applications.

Program Synopsis: The HMGP Elevation Program is a reimbursement grant program designed to help homeowners with the elevation of their primary single-family residences to meet the requirements of the flood insurance risk maps in flood-prone communities. The program is limited to the Sandy-impacted communities of Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union. There are no income requirements for the program and FEMA registration is not required in order to apply.

Homes targeted for buyout under the state's HMGP acquisition program are not eligible to participate. Additionally, federal regulations restrict homeowners who have already begun elevation work from applying.

Eligible applicants can receive reimbursement of up to $30,000 for elevations on existing single-family homes. 

Available Grants to Help in Home Repair

The Homeowner Resettlement Program and the Homeowner Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) are two federally funded programs designed to assist in the repair and rebuilding of primary owner occupied residences. Those who were eligible were permitted to apply to both programs. Neither program is accepting applications any longer.

Homeowner Resettlement

As of August 1, 2013 the Resettlement Program is no longer accepting applications. 

Program Synopsis: This program provides a $10,000 grant award to eligible homeowners whose primary residence was damaged by the storm. This program requires you to remain in or return to Sandy impacted communities. To be eligible for this grant your home must be located in one of the most severely impacted counties (Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union). Grant funds may be used for any non-construction purpose that assists you in remaining in, or returning to, the county in which you lived prior to the storm.

Homeowner Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM)

As of August 1, 2013 the RREM Program is no longer accepting applications.

Program Synopsis: This program provides up to $150,000 for eligible homeowners to repair, elevate or rebuild their primary residences in the affected communities so that you can do the necessary work on your home to make it livable and so that you can comply with requirements for structures located in flood plains.

The RREM program is intended to "fill the gap" between the cost of repairs and other funds the owner has received to repair the structure. The calculation of RREM assistance takes into consideration the cost of repairs and amounts the owner has received for home repairs from other sources such as insurance, FEMA, SBA, and non-profits.

To be eligible to receive RREM assistance applicants must meet the following eligibility factors:

  • The damaged residence must be located in one of nine most impacted counties (Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union.)
  • At the time of the storm (October 29, 2012), the damaged residence must have been owned and occupied by the applicant as the applicant's primary residence.
  • The applicant must have registered for FEMA assistance.
  • The residence must have sustained damage as a result of the hurricane with a FEMA Full Verified Loss (FVL) of at least $8,000 or had more than one foot of water on the first floor.
  • Homeowner must have a household adjusted gross annual income of less than $250,000.

The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has contracted with a RREM Program Manager to assist homeowners throughout the construction process. The RREM Program Manager will work with homeowners to develop specifications for the work to be completed, obtain bids from a builder, assign a builder to each homeowner, inspect the construction while it is in progress, and approve payments to the builder.

On March 10, 2014 a change in how the program is being implemented went into effect and is expected to hasten the distribution of funds. With this change, RREM grant awardees who are using their own contractor can request an advance payment for 50 percent of their RREM grant. Once a RREM grant awardee's contractor invoices or provides receipts for eligible costs that exceed the initial 50 percent advance, the grant awardee may submit up to two additional payment requests for the remaining balance of their RREM grant. 

RREM grant awardees must certify that they have a general contractor or design professional under contract and DCA must verify that the contractor is licensed in New Jersey and not debarred from work. At the time of the final payment request, DCA will conduct a property inspection to ensure that RREM funds were used properly and that items paid by the RREM grant award are complete.

RREM Step-by Step (English) RREM Step-by Step (Spanish)

Sandy Homebuyer Assistance Program

As of September 30, 2013, the Sandy Homebuyer Assistance Program is no longer accepting pre-applications.

If you have applied for the Sandy Homebuyer Assistance Program and are seeking a status update to your application, please send an email to the Sandy Homebuyer Assistance Program at SandyHomebuyer@njhmfa.state.nj.us

Be sure to include the following in your email:

  • Full Name of All Applicants
  • County of Current Residence
  • Date Full Application was submitted to the Housing Counselor

Due to a high volume of inquiries, please allow up to 5 business days for an email response from one of the Sandy Homebuyer Assistance Representatives.

Program Synopsis: The Sandy Homebuyer Assistance program is a forgivable, interest free loan program that provides financial incentive for homebuyers - including creating first-time buyers from renters - to purchase a home. Buyers participating in the program would identify a property they want to purchase, obtain a first mortgage from a traditional source, and if qualified, would get a state funded second mortgage of up to $50,000 which would require no monthly payments. If the homebuyer stays in the home for five years the loan is forgiven, meaning that it never needs to be repaid. Learn more.

Gap Funding Initiative (GFI)

As of November 1, 2014 the Gap Funding Initiative is no longer accepting applications.

The Gap Funding Initiative (GFI) represents $15 million dollars of support that has been generated through donations made to the American Red Cross and the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. New Jersey Community Capital is the administrator of the fund.

Here is how the program works. GFI is offering grants of up to $20,000 to help homeowners cover the costs of home repairs they face as a result of Hurricane Sandy damage. Eligible homeowners must be approved for Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) funds by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ reNEW Jersey Stronger program (described above) and still have an 'unmet need' to cover the cost of home repairs. GFI awards are intended to bridge these financial gaps.

GFI is not a reNEW Jersey Stronger or New Jersey Department of Community Affairs program. GFI awards are determined after the RREM Program's grant award calculation has been finalized and are considered personally obtained funds.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants must have been approved for RREM funding and have signed a RREM Grant Agreement.
  • Applicants must have an ‘unmet need’ as determined in the ‘Homeowner Award Calculation’ prepared by the RREM program.
  • Applicant households must have an annual adjusted gross income of $100,000 or less or meet the criteria of a low-to-moderate income household as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  • Applicants must reside in one of the following counties in New Jersey: Bergen, Hudson, Essex, Union, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic or Cape May.
  • Applicants must utilize a RREM-Assigned Contractor to complete construction.

GFI funds are no longer available and applications for funding will not be reviewed unless they were submitted before midnight on October 31, 2014. Housing assistance grants may not be used to fund homeowner selected upgrades or to reimburse homeowners for previously incurred expenses. Once awarded, housing assistance grants will be placed in awardees' escrow accounts for disbursement during construction by the RREM escrow agent. Grant funds are applied last to the cost of construction, and unused grant funds will be returned to GFI.

Learn more about GFI.

Assistance for Businesses

SBA Loans

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage ended on April 1, 2013. The deadline to return economic injury applications ended on July 31, 2013.

SBA provides low interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, non-profit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster. Even if you don't get approved for this loan or don't want to accept the loan, you should apply because it will open the doorway for other potential opportunities for financial assistance. The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage ended on April 1, 2013. The deadline to return economic injury applications ended on July 31, 2013.

The U.S. Small Business Administration had opened Business Recovery Centers in every county of the state. These centers provided one-on-one assistance to business owners seeking disaster assistance for losses caused by Hurricane Sandy. All locations closed as of May 23. Answers to questions about the loan application process can still be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT or by sending an e-mail to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Those affected by this disaster were instructed to complete loan applications online by visiting SBA's secure website.

Stronger NJ Business Grant Program

The application deadline for this grant program was December 31, 2013. No new applications are being accepted at this time.
Under the Stronger NJ Business Grant program, small businesses and non-profits may apply for grants and forgivable loans of up to $50,000 per impacted location. If an entity has multiple locations in New Jersey incorporated under a single federal tax identification or employer identification (EIN) number, it may use one application to seek funds for all incorporated, impacted locations, and may receive up to $50,000 per impacted location, but no more than $250,000 in the aggregate.

Applicants to the Stronger NJ Business Grant program must show that each damaged location for which funding is sought sustained at least $5,000 in Sandy-related physical damage, which may include damage to real property and non-perishable/non-consumable inventory.

Eligible costs under the Stronger NJ Business Grant program include working capital (operating expenses), inventory, equipment, machinery, fixtures, furnishings, and prospective construction. If an applicant seeks multiple types of funding, according to program policy, working capital and inventory expenses will be prioritized.

Learn more about this program and the application process by going to the NJ Economic Development Authority website, by contacting the NJEDA Office of Recovery at 855.SANDY.BZ or by emailing StrongerNJBusiness@njeda.com. Call center hours are: Monday - Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.



Page last modified/reviewed on July 21, 2016

If you know of additional resources that would be appropriate to include in this section, please let us know by contacting us via e-mail at info@nj211.org

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