Emergency Relief

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Still Underwater: The Need for Temporary Foreclosure and Mortgage Relief for Victims of Future Natural Disasters

By Jason M. Sugarman

Over four years ago, Superstorm Sandy decimated New York and New Jersey. Homes were destroyed, individuals were displaced, and the costs of repairing damaged properties were enormous. Many Superstorm Sandy victims could not maintain their monthly mortgage payments, and as a result faced foreclosure.

This Note proposes that New Jersey adopt legislation providing temporary foreclosure and mortgage relief to victims of future natural disasters. Part II of this Note describes FEMA;s origination and its role in assisting natural disaster victims. Part III outlines Superstorm Sandy‘s destructiveness and its impact on homeowners. Part IV explains the National Flood Insurance Program and specifically why so many Superstorm Sandy victims had underpaid flood insurance claims. Part V describes HUD’s role in helping natural disaster victims and the state sponsored programs in New York and New Jersey that used grants from HUD to assist Superstorm Sandy victims. Parts VI and VII outline additional problems, such as foreclosure, that Superstorm Sandy victims faced while trying to return to their homes. Part VIII examines New Jersey legislation that provides temporary foreclosure and mortgage relief for Superstorm Sandy victims. Finally, Part IX describes the terms of this Note‘s legislative proposal and the policy basis for enacting temporary foreclosure and mortgage relief for victims of future natural disasters.

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