By Ted Goldberg
A bill that would provide more relief for people who were greatly impacted by Tropical Storm Ida came before the Senate Community and Urban Affairs committee Monday. Several people whose homes were seriously damaged in the storm testified.
Leanna Jones lives in Milford. Her home was seriously damaged in the storm. “I had flood insurance. So I thought like, OK, this will be all right. But they didn’t give us enough. FEMA wouldn’t give me anything because I was still talking to insurance,” she said. “If I was able to get some relief on that and have this mortgage forbearance, it would have given me the breathing space to just do what we needed to do to get back into the home sooner and to finish the home sooner.”
Senate Bill 3640 would grant mortgage forbearance to cash-strapped homeowners. They would get a reprieve on payments for up to a year and a half retroactive to September 2021, when Ida hit.
A spokesperson with the New Jersey Bankers Association said they don’t oppose the bill entirely, just the length of the forbearance.
“We feel that one year is largely appropriate and reasonable. And should any subsequent forbearance be provided, we feel that there should be certain qualifiers and conditions in place before the automatic allowance of 180 days,” said Brittany Wheeler, vice president and director of Government Affairs at the association.