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Homeowners Impacted by Sandy Face Uncertainty

Lawmakers in New Jersey are meeting this week to relook at extending a July 1 deadline after which foreclosure protection for victims of 2012's Superstorm Sandy is likely to expire.

For hundreds of victims who are still rebuilding their properties, this could be a worst case scenario according to a report by Asbury Park Press (App.) [1].

The report [2] noted that the protection which was signed into law in 2017 by Gov. Chris Christie, "allows residents participating in certain recovery programs to get a state-sanctioned reprieve" from foreclosures by banks until July 1, 2019. Once the protection expires, residents who have only received building permits recently are likely to be most affected as banks will move in to foreclose those homes.

The deadline becomes even more important in the face of legislation that was passed by the state's assembly in March this year to extend the deadline to 2022. However, the State Senate hasn't voted on this legislation yet. App., in its report, said that the Senate was likely to deliberate on it this week.

"The banks started sending out letters last month," Jody Stewart of the New Jersey Organizing Project [3] told App. "We have hundreds of people depending on that (law). If they don’t have that they don’t know if they’ll be able to finish their recovery."

According to the latest state report on Hurricane Sandy recovery [4] that was published in April, around 900 residents are still in the process of rebuilding their homes. In the meantime, senators who had originally sponsored the bill to extend the deadline to 2022 are saying that they will get the vote on the extension before the foreclosure protections expire.

"Too many New Jersey families are still waiting to move into their homes and on with their lives six years after Sandy, so it’s completely unfair these families have to face the possibility of foreclosure while they are fighting with the bureaucracy to finish repairing their homes," Sen. Chris Brown, one of the sponsors of the bill told App. in a statement.