No Relief for LEH

Sep 19, 2018

To the Editor:

“Never let a good crisis go to waste” was a saying attributed to President Obama’s former chief of staff, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Opportunistic politicians like Emanuel never missed a chance to convert a crises into political pork for special interests.

In 2012 the crisis was the impact that Superstorm Sandy had on Little Egg Harbor, damaging more than 4,000 homes. Officials estimate hundreds of LEH residents were displaced by the storm. In 2014 the Council on Affordable Housing took advantage of the Sandy crisis by using the storm as an opportunity to expand its program and mandate by court order that the township build additional low-income housing.

After a long drawn-out legal battle, Little Egg approved the construction of the Willows, a 60-unit affordable housing apartment complex at the intersection of Oak Lane and Radio Road. The Ingerman Group, a property management company assigned to this project, received $9.1 million in federal grant money that was earmarked as Sandy disaster funds. To receive these funds, it was mandated that Sandy-impacted residents would be given a three-month application priority for residency. The courts would have you believe that after four years, displaced storm victims would return to the township.

Little Egg officials bought into this theory, hook, line and sinker. One year after completion of the Willows and countless inquiries as to the number of displaced victims that took advantage of this offer, it was announced that the $9.1 million did not help any Little Egg displaced victims.

These funds were earmarked to help existing residences that had issues with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in rebuilding their existing homes and not the goals of the Council on Affordable Housing to build a required number of low-income homes. The concept of relocating out-of-area families with school-age children into a township that was already struggling with all the problems of the post-Sandy recovery was a classic example of the saying “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Art Mooney

Little Egg Harbor





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