Christie inks law to prevent foreclosure on Sandy-damaged homes

opens in a new windowChristie inks law to prevent foreclosure on Sandy-damaged homes – Phil Gregory, NewsWorks

Governor Christie has signed New Jersey legislation to prevent mortgage foreclosures on homes damaged more than four years ago by Superstorm Sandy.

Amanda Devecka-Rinear, who directs the New Jersey Organizing Project founded by those affected by Sandy, said Friday she is relieved the governor approved the measure.

“I am so incredibly glad that we’re going to see some relief for families,” she said. “I am only sad that this didn’t pass even two years ago … I know as many people as it will help, there are a number of families for whom this is too late.”

Christie called the bill sloppily written, ill-conceived, and political pandering by the legislature, but said he signed it to give Sandy victims “morsels of relief.”

Under the law, Sandy victims could get a temporary stay of foreclosure proceedings if they are eligible for the Reconstruction Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation program or the Low- to Moderate- Income Homeowner’s Rebuilding Program but haven’t received funds.

Christie, who said he fears some of the requirements might delay recovery efforts and increase borrowing costs, vowed to use his executive authority to repair any damage it could cause.

Devecka-Rinear said the new law could help thousands of families.

“Every day, Sandy-impacted families have been fighting,” she said. “We fought for two years for this legislation and it sounds like tomorrow we’re going to have to wake up and fight to make sure that the governor doesn’t limit its impact. But we’re up for it, and we are encouraged.”