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Concert proceeds to aid home rebuilding in areas flooded during Superstorm Sandy

The Robin Hood Foundation, which held a December mega-concert with those performers to raise money for Superstorm Sandy relief, announced Friday that it will give $200,000 to a program aimed at helping home reconstruction in areas of Bergen County flooded during the October storm.

“It’s a significant and important component” of relief efforts, said Janet Sharma, who heads an organization that is part of a coalition working on recovery programs in the county. The grant, given to the Bergen County Long Term Recovery Committee, adds to about $270,000 already awarded to the coalition from other funds set up in the wake of the storm.

The latest round of money will be used to give grants of up to $10,000 to help lower-income families remove mold from storm-ravaged homes and buy reconstruction supplies, Sharma said. While most of the local damage occurred in Moonachie and Little Ferry, she said, families throughout the county will be eligible for aid.

“The frustrating thing is how long it’s taken to get to this point. But we are happy we are at this point,” said Sharma, director of the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, which sponsors the recovery committee. “Now we will able to move quickly. We can’t do everything for everybody with the amount we have, but we will try to help people most in need.”

The New York City-based Robin Hood Foundation has raised $67.5 million for Sandy recovery efforts, mostly from the 12-12-12 benefit concert in Madison Square Garden.

Sharma said the top priority for the Robin Hood money will be removing mold from homes. After that, money will go for replacing things like damaged walls, furniture, appliances and plumbing, electrical and heating systems.

Along with buying physical supplies, money from other grants will be used to pay for caseworkers to work with aid recipients and set up a storm recovery information center at the First Presbyterian Church in Moonachie. In addition, Sharma said, volunteers will canvass communities to find out who qualifies for aid, and a telephone hotline will be set up this month to help people get information about and apply for assistance.

The week before, the county Long Term Recovery Committee was awarded $200,000 from the New Jersey Sandy Relief fund, which is headed by first lady Mary Pat Christie. Sharma said the application process will be set up later this month.

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