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Thursday, August 29, 2013

FEMA to Union Beach: It's Not Our Fault We're Turning Our Backs On You, We're Just Following Our Own Policy

A week before his re-election, President Obama had this to say to the people affected by Hurricane Sandy:
"We don't have any patience for bureaucracy. We don't have any patience for red tape."
On April 29, the six month anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, here's what our no non-sense, tough guy governor, Chris Christie, had to say about President Obama's performance in the aftermath of the storm:

"The president has kept every promise he's made. I think he's done a good job. He kept his word."

Demolition of homes in the devastated Borough of Union Beach began in January and the Federal government did reimburse 172 homeowners for the demolition of homes rendered unrepairable by Sandy. In May, FEMA pledged to reimburse all homeowners in the borough for demolition costs.

In August, borough officials received an email from FEMA informing them that the agency would not cover the 92 homes that were still standing but uninhabitable, unless they’re proved to be in imminent danger of collapsing. More than 50 of those homes require asbestos removal.

“They’re all dangerous to live in but I can’t prove that they’re going to fall down tomorrow. So because I can’t prove that, they refuse to pay,” Union Beach Administrator Jennifer Maier said when asked by a reporter from CBS in New York about the situation. (FEMA Rejects Funding for Nearly 100 Union Beach Homes)

FEMA claims its Demolition of Private Structures policy is the reason for its decision. The policy states that funding from the agency “requires certification that homes to be demolished are in imminent danger of full or partial collapse.” FEMA went on to say that borough officials have only sent them certification for 8 homes in imminent danger of collapse.

In short, the bureaucratic red tape that President Obama (D) and Chris Christie (R) both promised would be cut in order to expedite recovery is strangling these homeowners. We are taxed at usury rates in New Jersey, such that homeowners are not able to build their own safety net to protect themselves in the event of catastrophe. The system forces us to rely on the government, yet the government time and time again proves it is unreliable. As I've stated all week, it is the system and the people who feed off of it, that are at fault.

Scores of volunteers have been coming to the borough to help with demolition, and the efforts are ongoing. While government officials points fingers, lies to us, and generally wipes their hands of culpability, people are still helping people put their lives back together.

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