Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty testified Wednesday at the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development hearing “Superstorm Sandy Recovery: Ensuring Strong Coordination among Federal, State and Local Stakeholders."
According to a release from Doherty:
Doherty was invited to testify by Subcommittee Chair, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and was on a panel with Kevin Walsh, Associate Director of Fair Share Housing Center and Dr. Janice Fine, Associate Professor of Labor Studies and Employment Relations, Rutgers University. Their testimony followed a panel with Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Mayor Doherty used the opportunity to testify to highlight the strength and resolve of Belmar residents and business owners and offered suggestions on how additional federal resources could be allocated for the maximum benefit to communities still recovering from Sandy throughout the Jersey Shore. Included in those recommendations were:
- Allow communities to begin projects they need to recover from the storm while they wait for federal funding, and reimburse them later.
- Relax rules that make it difficult for families that did work on their homes right away to receive funding, which would eliminate the disincentive for being aggressive about getting back home.
- Compel the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to settle with clients through arbitration, as opposed to forcing residents to sue their insurance company.
- Increase the appropriation for housing and infrastructure for Sandy impacted communities.
Doherty also marked the 500th day since Sandy hit by highlighting Belmar residents Frank Murphy and Krista Sperber as just two examples of residents still being displaced from their homes as a result of convoluted application processes and insurance procedures.