Flood risks keep rising in N.J. Will more homeowners be paid to leave?

January 27, 2024

Outside Phil Rosso’s porch sits the empty lot where his daughter’s house stood before the remnants of Hurricane Ida blew through Lambertville in 2021 and sent the house careening into the nearby creek.

That home and another next to it were ultimately bought by New Jersey’s Blue Acres program and the remaining structures were torn down.

Last September, the NJDEP — which only just in July 2022 launched online buyout applications — also outlined how it could expand the program in other ways going forward. That included bettering how it “prioritize(s) socially vulnerable populations.”

Historically, that has been harder to do due to worries over redlining and applications not specifically seeking homeowners’ race and ethnicity, said Clinton Andrews, the director of Rutgers’ Center for Urban Policy Research.
“People have different risk tolerances. Some people want to stay in their home no matter what. Other people have lower risk tolerances, and they’re more willing to consider relocating,” said Laura Geronimo, a PhD candidate with Rutgers University’s Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. “So ultimately, this whole process is really a social process.”

NJ.com January 27, 2024

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