Activists gathered in Lagoon Park in Atlantic City to discuss flooding issues in their community on Tuesday. Their concerns include: that families still aren’t home after Sandy, regular flooding has become more frequent throughout the entire community, and that we don’t have enough mitigation efforts happening or affordable protection from flooding. New Jersey Organizing Project, founded by Superstorm Sandy survivors, hosted this event along with another Tuesday in Waretown, with yet another coming up this Friday in Ortley Beach.
“The biggest injustice of this is that there are people who live in ground level apartments in Ventnor and when it floods you see your neighbors evacuating their homes with their pants rolled up and their children on their backs,” said Ruth Murphy of Ventnor.
The National Flood Insurance Program is set to expire September 30 of this year and residents are concerned about 18 – 25% rate increases yearly without the resources they’d need to mitigate or elevate and reduce their rates. Part of the affordability challenge is the limited resources to mitigate causing homeowners to see a spike in premiums
“It is hard enough to live in a high risk zone when severe weather hits but residents are faced with regular sunny day flooding. which means certain high tides during new moons flood the street. This does not include the torrential rain storms we have been seeing. We need measures in place that both address current flooding and will slow sea level rise in the future such as reforms in the National Flood Insurance Program that provide resources for individual and community wide mitigation. Right now most grants are actually reimbursement grants where you have to pay for a costly elevation up front and then be reimbursed,” explained Alison Arne’ of New Jersey Organizing Project.
Kellie Anderson lived in Atlantic City until Superstorm Sandy. “The average person cannot afford a $200,000 loan to elevate their home. I moved inland to Mays Landing and have to have a sump pump installed this week because now my current home floods.”