Legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio to help homeowners afford home elevation projects was advanced by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.
Senator Joe Pennacchio’s legislation would help homeowners to afford home elevation projects. (Wikimedia Commons)
The legislation, S-122, would utilize existing funding generated through Realty Transfer Fees to help homeowners pay off of the interest payment on a loan taken out to finance a home elevation project.
“In the wake of Superstorm Sandy and the continued flooding issues around the Passaic, Raritan and other rivers across the state, thousands of New Jersey families need to elevate their homes to protect against flooding and future storm damage,” said Pennacchio. “This legislation provides some badly needed financial relief to homeowners that need to take on this costly project to safeguard their families and property.”
S-122 dedicates $5 million from the state’s share of Realty Transfer Fee revenue to a “Flood Protection and Home Elevation Fund.” The fund would be used to reimburse homeowners who took out a loan to complete properly approved home elevation programs for 25 percent, or up to $750, of the annual interest payment of the loan. Under the bill, in order to better leverage the funding, the homeowner will only be reimbursed if the county in which the home elevation project takes place agrees to provide matching funds in the same amount, reducing the interest payments by a total of 50 percent.
Senator Pennacchio noted that in many cases raising a home is a far better use of resources than knocking it down. When homes are destroyed and lots left vacant municipalities lose ratables needed to pay for important services. Home elevation adds value to the home and helps with the remediation of flooding by increasing the amount of permeable surface on the property.
“Leveraging these resources with matching funding from the counties will allow more families to be able get the work done that they need to in order to protect against future damage,” Pennacchio said.