Latino, African-American Applicants Unfairly Denied Sandy Relief Funds?
Local housing rights organization Fair Share Housing Center (FSHC) says it has obtained data from the Christie Administration that shows that Latino and African-American residents applying for two major Sandy relief programs were denied by the state at higher rates than their Caucasian counterparts.
According to the FSHC, 35-percent of African American applicants and 18 percent of Latino applicants applying to the Homeowner Reconstruction, Rehabilitation Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) program were rejected by the state; while 13 percent of Caucasian applicants were denied from the same program.
Similarly, FSHC says 38 percent of African Americans and 20 percent of Latinos that applied to the Resettlement Grant Program had their applications rejected; while 14 percent of Caucasians were rejected from the same program.
President of the Latino Action Network (LAN) Frank Argote-Freyre and members of the New Jersey chapter of the NAACP reviewed the data along with FSHC and noticed inequities in both the amount of Latino and African Americans that applied for the programs, and the amount of Latino and African American residents that were approved to receive relief funds.
Argote-Freyre says he wants to know how the Christie Administration plans to correct the error.
“Given the misinformation presented to the Spanish-reading community by the Governor’s relief website, I think Governor Christie should explain what he intends to do to help those who were unfairly rejected or who missed deadlines due to the administration’s neglect,” Argote-Freyre stated in a press release.
“We hope that these data, supplied by the Christie Administration itself, will help to shed light on why these programs are not working.”
LAN is currently in litigation with the Christie Administration. The group claims that information provided on the English version of New Jersey’s Sandy recovery web site was omitted from the Spanish version of the web site, and left many Spanish speaking Sandy victims unable to take advantage of grant program benefits.