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Christie Administration Announces Launch of “reNew Jersey Stronger” Housing Assistance Initiative

May 28, 2013

$780 Million Available for Homeowners Impacted by Superstorm Sandy

Beginning May 24, 2013, eligible homeowners can now apply for grant assistance at www.renewjerseystronger.org or by calling 1-855-SANDYHM (1-855-726-3946).

The housing assistance programs comes less than a month after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved New Jersey’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery Action Plan. The Action Plan details how the State will utilize $1,829,520,000 in federal funding to help homeowners, renters, businesses and communities impacted by Superstorm Sandy. The reNew Jersey Stronger housing assistance initiative will utilize $780 million of the allocation.

Homeowners will be able to apply online and by phone starting today. They will also be able to apply in-person starting June 8 at Sandy Housing Assistance Centers which will be located in those counties most impacted by the storm. “Housing counselors both at the centers and over the phone can help applicants navigate the entire process by providing support and clear guidance,” said Richard E. Constable, III, Commissioner of the NJ Department of Community Affairs (DCA), which will administer the distribution of CDBG Disaster Recovery funds for New Jersey.

Under the reNew Jersey Stronger housing initiative, homeowners whose primary residences were damaged by the storm in the nine most-impacted counties (Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union) may apply for two grant programs. Vacation homes, second homes and recreational vehicles or trailers are not eligible for the programs based on federal restrictions on the use of the funds.

  • Homeowner Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program: This $600 million program will provide eligible homeowners up to $150,000 in grant funds to aid the reconstruction, rehabilitation, elevation and mitigation of damaged primary homes. The program is intended to fill the gap between the costs needed to repair the home and other sources of funds the homeowner has received to repair their home such as insurance payments or assistance from FEMA or the U.S. Small Business Administration. Additionally, the program will help homeowners with the construction process by developing repair specifications, identifying qualified builders to do the construction work, and ensuring the quality of the work completed. Seventy percent of the funds will be reserved for low-to-moderate-income households in accordance with federal requirements.

All applicants under the RREM Program must have registered for assistance with FEMA and must have a household adjusted gross annual income of less than $250,000. Priority will be given to homes that are deemed “substantially damaged” (damages exceed 50% of a home’s assessed value) as a result of Sandy.

  • Homeowner Resettlement Program: This $180 million program is aimed at encouraging Sandy-impacted homeowners to remain in the nine counties that were most seriously affected by the storm. This program will provide $10,000 grants to eligible homeowners to encourage them to resettle in their existing home or resettle in the same county and in so doing will help to restore home values and stabilize many devastated communities. Homeowners must agree to remain in the county of their damaged residence for three consecutive years following the grant award. Sixty percent of the funds will be reserved for low-to-moderate-income households in accordance with federal requirements.

All applicants under the Resettlement Program must have registered for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and must have sustained at least $8,000 in damages or more than one foot of flooding on the first floor as a result of Sandy. There is no formal deadline for accepting applications, there will be an initial application period that will run from May 24, 2013 to June 30, 2013. All completed RREM and Resettlement applications received by June 30 will then be in the first group to be processed. Once the application period closes, selection will prioritize those homeowners with the most damage (i.e., substantial, severe and major), whose homes are in the most impacted counties (i.e., Atlantic, Monmouth and Ocean), and who are of low- to moderate-income.

In early July, applicants will be notified of their place on the list and whether they will receive an award out of HUD’s initial allocation of funding. Anyone who is not successful in getting an award will be placed on a waiting list pending a future allocation from HUD. An announcement on future allocations is expected in September.

Applications will continue to be accepted after June 30, 2013, but these applicants will be processed only after all the most impacted homeowners from the first group have been served.

For more information on the reNew Jersey Stronger housing assistance initiative, including details about the application process, determination of eligibility, and award calculation, visit www.renewjerseystronger.org or call the hotline number 1-855-SANDYHM (1-855-726-3946). Locations and directions to the Sandy Housing Assistance Centers that are opening June 8 will be posted at www.renewjerseystronger.org as the information becomes available.

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Foreclosure Bills Released From Committee

August 10, 2012

Source: NJ Builders Association

Two NJBA strongly supported bills were released by the Senate Economic Growth Committee. NJBA CEO Timothy Touhey testified in support of bills and warned that an excess inventory of foreclosed homes or distressed properties will only continue to be a drain on the housing market, depress home values and delay an economic recovery.

S2156 (Lesniak) would establish an expedited foreclosure procedure for vacant and abandoned property in uncontested matters. This bill would give the Courts the tools necessary to handle not only the existing backlog of pending foreclosures, but also the large number of expected foreclosures now that the judicial moratorium has been lifted.

S2157 (Lesniak) would establish the “Foreclosure Relief Corporation” as a temporary entity within the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA). Its mission will be to act as a clearing house for foreclosed residential properties and to work with municipal governments, housing non-profits and qualified investors to effectively address the excess inventory of foreclosed residential properties in an expedited fashion.

The Senate bills are likely to be referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. The companion Assembly bills are likely to be introduced in the near future.

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Public Comments Invited for 2nd Draft, National Green Building Standard

May 3, 2012

A 45-day public comment period for the second draft of the 2012 National Green Building Standard (ICC 700) opened Friday, April 27, 2012. As part of the process approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), only those changes to the first draft that were approved by the standard’s consensus committee during its February meeting are open for public comment. The deadline is June 11. Also released was the Pre-Public Comments Report (PCR), which documents the changes the committee members made  — and why they made them – based on comments received on the first draft.

Initiated in 2007 by the International Code Council and NAHB, the 2008 National Green Building Standard (ICC 700) was developed by a 42-member consensus committee and approved by ANSI in January 2009, making it the first point-based rating system for green residential construction, remodeling and land development to be approved by ANSI. As an ANSI-approved standard, the document is subject to periodic updates as a way to ensure that advances in building codes, technology, and other developments can be considered for incorporation – and this new version of the standard is expected to reflect those changes.

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Personal Liability for Contractor’s Officer

May 3, 2012

Never shy about expanding exposure to lawsuits, the New Jersey Supreme Court has decided that a company’s officers and employees can be personally liable for a corporations’s technical violations of a law. While the decision interprets the New Jersey Consume Fraud Act (CFA), one part of that analysis could pave the way for further undercutting the limited liability advantages of corporations and LLC’s.

Corporate officers and employees have always been personally liable for their negligence or other “torts” caused during employment. But, some laws also impose liability without fault. Under the CFA regulations involved in this case, home remodeling contracts and product substitutions must be in writing. Here, a contractor had orally contracted to build a pool’s retaining wall and may have substituted a different type of fill for the specified variety without written approval. Later, the wall bulged and cracked. A jury found the contractor at fault for CFA violations and the wall deficiencies, while the court imposed triple damages and counsel fees under the CFA.

The Supreme Court decided that the contractor was automatically liable under the CFA because there was no written contract. The Court then decided that the individuals who engaged in the making of the oral contract could be personally liable regardless whether they caused the actual harm. As the Court stated, a company officer could be liable for the damage if the failure to use a written contract was part of the business’s course of conduct. Allen v. and A Bros., Inc., A-30-10.

Lots of laws will impose liability without fault. For example, a contractor can be liable for another party’s attorneys fees expended to discharge a construction lien if the lien filing was not based on a written contract. Courts could use this decision’s reasoning to assign those costs to the person who signs the lien even if the signer did not know of this written contract requirement. Or perhaps this decision will be limited to the CFA and “public interest” laws? The Court left the details for the future, so more lawsuits will follow.

 

Richard m. Baron

The Law Firm of Richard M. Baron

300-3 Route 17 South, Ste. 6

Lodi, NJ 07644

973-473-5200

 

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What Does the Real Estate Commission Rebate Law Change Mean to Home Buyers?

March 8, 2012

January 19, 2010 was an exciting day. Then New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine signed into law a bill sponsored by state Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr., Paul D. Moriarty and Joseph Vas  that allows New Jersey home buyers across the state to receive a cash rebate, once they close on their home, from real estate brokerages. With people being asked to come up with higher down payments and meet more stringent lending standards than ever these days, to purchase a house, the ability to get a check after closing – or even cover the closing costs with a rebate from your real estate agent, is sure to be a boon for both cash-strapped buyers and the New Jersey housing market overall.

The real estate industry, historically, has been about what’s best for the agent.  With the new Internet era coming into the real estate market place, the old industry model is broken. It is now permissible for Realtors to rebate a portion of the buyer Agent’s commission to the buyer.

Please contact me at 609-575-8564 if you are interested in purchasing 18 Lenox St., Newark, NJ and getting a check for more than $2,000 at closing.

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Free Pre-Apprenticeship Opportunity

December 28, 2011

The Finishing Trades Institute of the Mid-Atlantic Region received a Green Jobs Innovation Fund grant which makes available a free education and training opportunity for Out of School Youth, Dislocated Workers, Unemployed Workers and Veterans.  The Tri-Green Pre-Apprenticeship Program offers 160 hours of classroom and hands on instruction leading to three industry recognized certifications (Green Advantage, OSHA 10 and First Aid/CPR) and 10 college credits as described in the attachment.  Successful completers are offered advanced standing for the available apprenticeship seats at The Finishing Trades Institute.

The initial Philadelphia area offering will be conducted January 9 – February 3, 2012.

To read more about the program follow this link: http://www.fti.edu/certificate_program.html

To register for the program online (recommended) follow this link:  https://fti.unionlogic.net/trigreen

To print a registration form to drop off or mail, follow this link: http://www.fti.edu/pdf/tri_green_application2011-2012.pdf

Your support to identify Out of School Youth, Dislocated Workers, Unemployed Workers and Veterans interested in learning more about the construction trades, gaining knowledge and skills, advancing their education and or increasing their employability would be appreciated.

Please feel free to contact me at your convenience.  Thank you for your time and attention.

Sincerely,

Susan Shaffer

Tri-Green Outreach Coordinator

The Finishing Trades Institute

2190 Hornig Rd

Philadelphia, PA 19116

C: 570-885-9612

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Solar Training Opportunites in Philadelphia

November 28, 2011

Federation of Neighborhood Centers Logo

The Federation of Neighborhood Centers has a new solar training program that is now enrolling.  The rough draft of the brochure is attached.  Please pass this on to anyone at JEVS who may have someone in their program who could benefit from this.  We are currently enrolling for a class that will be held Dec 5 – 9.  Infinite Solar is conducting the training for us. 

 Qualifications:

 -         2 or more years experience in construction, carpentry, electrical, remodeling, roofing or HVAC (doesn’t have to be 2 continuous years)

-         Basic electrical knowledge

-         Some familiarity with equations, fractions, algebra          

No cost for training for those who qualify and are accepted. 

 Here is the link to our page on our FNC website about the program.  There is a link at the bottom of the webpage for the brochure.

 http://www.federationnc.org/philadelphiasolar.page

 Interested potential trainees can call 215.989.3566 ext. 28 to reserve a spot at our info session (to be held on November 17th) or to get a call back with more information.  Those interested in the info session should call the number above and someone will return their call and provide the information about the event.

 Jerry Tapley

Chief Operating Officer

Federation of Neighborhood Centers

1528 Walnut Street, Suite 200

Philadelphia, PA  19102

215.989.3566 x 11

215.989.3568 – fax

www.federationnc.org  

 Those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”Voltaire

 

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Bush Era Tax Increase Scheduled for 2013

October 14, 2011

In a little more than a year from now, government agencies will be required to increase the amount of money they withhold from companies that perform public work. Congress is debating a bill to stop the withholding, but they need to hear from you to make sure it passes.

The withholding law, which was enacted by the Bush Administration in 2005, mandates that federal agencies, states, and certain local governments withhold three percent of nearly all of their contract payments, starting in 2013. This tax increase was used in part to allow them to claim they were reducing the Federal deficit. Compliance with this Bush Administration law will impose significant, unnecessarIn a little more than a year from now, government agencies will be required to increase the amount of money they withhold from companies that perform public work. Congress is debating a bill to stop the withholding, but they need to hear from you to make sure it passes. The withholding law, which was enacted by the Bush Administration in 2005, mandates that federal agencies, states, and certain local governments withhold three percent of nearly all of their contract payments, starting in 2013. This tax increase was used in part to allow them to claim they were reducing the Federal deficit. Compliance with this Bush Administration law will impose significant, unnecessary financial burdens on architecture firms and the deeply distressed construction industry that does business with any government agency, including many school districts, and will essentially give government an interest-free loan on the backs of small businesses.

 This withholding will be a flat percentage of revenues from government payments that bears no relationship to companies’ taxable incomes, and will restrict the cash flow that firms need for day-to-day operations and investments. In addition, it will impose substantial administrative and capital investment costs on businesses and governments struggling to comply – hitting small firms the hardest. Ironically, the provision will cost more to implement than it is estimated to raise in new revenue, which completely defeats its intended purpose. The House will soon take up H.R. 674, authored by Congressmen Wally Herger (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), which would repeal this provision that is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2013. Now is the time to tell Congress to repeal this Bush Administration law. Please take just a moment to send your members of Congress a message that this Bush Administration policy is sending us in the wrong direction. y financial burdens on architecture firms and the deeply distressed construction industry that does business with any government agency, including many school districts, and will essentially give government an interest-free loan on the backs of small businesses. This withholding will be a flat percentage of revenues from government payments that bears no relationship to companies’ taxable incomes, and will restrict the cash flow that firms need for day-to-day operations and investments. In addition, it will impose substantial administrative and capital investment costs on businesses and governments struggling to comply – hitting small firms the hardest. Ironically, the provision will cost more to implement than it is estimated to raise in new revenue, which completely defeats its intended purpose.

The House will soon take up H.R. 674, authored by Congressmen Wally Herger (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), which would repeal this provision that is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2013. Now is the time to tell Congress to repeal this Bush Administration law. Please take just a moment to send your members of Congress a message that this Bush Administration policy is sending us in the wrong direction.

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2-3-11 Why suspend the FHA 90-day Rule

February 3, 2011

The FHA 90-day rule regulation (24 CFR 203.37a(b)(2)) typically prohibit insuring a mortgage on a home owned by the seller for less than 90 days. Last year, FHA  waived the regulation through January 31, 2011. This rule, fashioned to work in raising housing markets is now inappropriate given existing market conditions. It is counter to the goals of stabilizing home values, creating employment and relieving financial institutions of troubled assets.

Most single family distressed properties are purchased by small businesses. The more projects a company can do, the more jobs and economic activity can be created. Waiving this rule frees up an investor’s capital as well as credit by reducing the holding period.  This will now allow for continued economic activity. These jobs are created in the private sector without subsidy, government intervention and created by small businesses. To the extent that there is a desire to support small businesses, put local people to work in there community, the suspension of 24 CFR 203.37a(b)(2) accomplishes these goals.

This waiver also makes it possible for the banks to dispose of their assets in an expeditious manner as investors can turn over their money quicker. Taking these distressed assets off the bank’s books strengthens the bank’s financial position and allows for the expansion of available credit.

Typically these properties are rehabilitated. This improves the housing stock and raises the mean sale price of homes in the community. This in turn stabilizes existing home values and provides both sellers and buyers with comparables for properties in the existing home market.

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10-29 HUD & Affordable Housing Funding

October 29, 2010

HDR REPORTS:

HUD ISSUES PROPOSED RULES FOR NATIONAL HOUSING TRUST FUND

HUD published proposed rules for the national affordable housing trust fund in today’s Federal Register, and comments are due December 28..  The rules include provisions on eligible activities, income targeting, project requirements, and program administration.  HUD published proposed regulations for the allocation formula last December, and there are no changes to that proposal in the new program rules. (For further information, contact Marcia Sigal, 202-402-3002.)

NO TAX CREDITS AVAILABLE FOR NATIONAL POOL IN 2010

The Internal Revenue Service announced yesterday that there will be no low-income housing tax credit national pool for 2010.  Acccording to Notice 2010-74, which is scheduled for publication in the November 15 Internal Revenue Bulletin, there are no unused carryover credits available for redistribution

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