How The RREM Contractor Process Works in NJ

A RREM Contractor Shakes a Homeowner's Hand

A RREM Contractor Shakes a Homeowner’s Hand

If you are a New Jersey homeowner who has been impacted by Hurricane Sandy, chances are you’ve considered taking part in the RREM Program, which provides funding for repairs or upgrades to prevent future damage.

If you have talked with a RREM Contactor and are considering your options, you may want to know how the process works. It’s a six-step process that unfolds like this.

The RREM Contractor Process Revealed

1) Notice of Funding

After submitting your application to the RREM Program, the State will begin reviewing your application to ensure you meet the requirements. At some point, you will receive a Notice of Funding letter. This is not a guarantee of approval! The State still needs to confirm your eligibility, get federal clearance to improve your property, and assess the damage done to your home.

Not that homeowners CAN apply for funding even after they have completed repair or improvement work with their RREM Contactor. This may impact the grant they received, but regardless, they may be eligible for money.

2) Site Inspection & Environmental Review

Next comes inspection and site review. An inspector from the RREM Program will help determine the approximate cost of rehabbing or elevating your home. Note that there may be more than one inspector assigned to your case.

Environmental review will also take place, as per federal law, which mandates that whenever CDBG Disaster Recovery funds are used, they are used in strict compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In the case of your RREM grant, these reviews will be conducted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

3) Verify Eligibility

Your Housing Advisor will work with you to guide you through the RREM application process. This will include gathering the appropriate documents and meeting deadlines. Eligibility requirements include the home being your primary residence at the time of Hurricane Sandy, the home being located in Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, or Union counties, and the residence having Sandy damage with a Full Verified Loss (FVL) of at least $8,000 or had more than one foot of water on the first floor.

4) Meet With Housing Advisor

After your eligibility for a RREM contractor is confirmed, you’ll have a meeting with your Housing Advisor. This meeting is mandatory and is designed to go over your grant award, sign documents (such as the Declaration of Covenants, which says you agree to meet RREM Program requirements), and so on. Your Housing Advisor will assist you with submitting the proper paperwork so payment can be issued.

During this time, you can request an Advance Payment Request. If you are already are under contract with a builder, an Advance Payment Request can be issued to help your RREM Contactor get construction started. The advance payment can be up to 50 percent of your total reward. You will need to have an signed legal contract between you and your contractor in order to qualify for advance payment.

5) Meet With RREM Project Manager

Your next meeting will be with your RREM Project Manager, who will ensure your project meets federal standards. He or she will also review and approve payment requests, timelines, estimated costs, and other factors.

6) Construction

During this important step, you’ll remain in contact with your RREM Project Manager, who will make sure the construction work being done by your RREM Contactor is in compliance with RREM Program requirements. You’ll submit construction payment requests to the project manager. When construction is completed, they will perform a final inspection. When inspection is passed, the Restrictive Covenant placed on your property will be released.

For more information, reach out to the NJ Department of Community Affairs or your local RREM Contactor.

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