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But so many complained about getting lowball payments that FEMA notified all 144,400 flood insurance claimants that it would open a review for anyone who wanted it.As of Monday, FEMA had settled 17,212 of those claims.Billions in disaster-relief aid — in grants administered by the state as well as flood insurance payouts — came to the state after the hurricane. Interviews with survivors, advocates, and government officials show the pattern: Settlements from the National Flood Insurance Program were far less than needed, rehabilitating or rebuilding homes was much more expensive than hoped, the bureaucracy was bewildering, unscrupulous contractors took advantage of people’s plight — and through it all they had to continue paying mortgages and rent. “The delay has meant there are people who were basically permanently displaced,” said Adam Gordon, of the Cherry Hill-based Fair Share Housing Center, which won the landmark decision against the state.But five years later, thousands are still out of their homes. By now, the bulk of the 7,600 homeowners who received some of the .6 billion in public disaster rebuilding grants so far disbursed by New Jersey are taking elevators or climbing up to repaired and raised houses, state grants cashed, flood insurance premiums reduced. People can’t wait years to make decisions on where their families would end up.” Those still in need now are grasping at diminishing resources.But getting to that point was not something many would want to repeat.
Since this year’s storms, battle-scarred Sandy groups are commiserating with Houstonites on the social-media site. What can be learned from the maddening maze that resulted after nearly .2 billion in federal funds was shoehorned into a state administrative model that dates to the Ford administration?
“We recognize this process has taken a significant amount of time – it’s taken too long — and we are working diligently to resolve these claims,” Sullivan said, noting that one of the delays has been in getting policyholders to supply all missing information.