Blue Acres Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program

The Blue Acres program is a long-standing, voluntary buyout program run by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The program purchases residential properties located in areas at risk of flooding and provides assistance to help property owners relocate to safer locations. The goal of the program is to reduce risk and impact from future floods.

The program works in coordination with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and uses state funding and Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Participation in the Blue Acres program is completely voluntary.


What is the voluntary buyout process?

  • The Blue Acres program purchases residential properties located in floodways, floodplains, or other at-risk areas called Disaster Risk Reduction Areas (DRRA).
  • Property owners willingly sell their property to DEP for current fair-market value.
  • DEP converts the property to open space or uses it for recreational or wetlands management, or other disaster risk reduction practices.

What structures are eligible?

  1. Located within one of the following disaster-declared counties. Those counties are Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Union, and Warren.
  2. Owned by the applicant.
  3. Served as a primary residence either as an owner-occupied home or a full-time rental. Commercial properties and second homes are not eligible.
  4. Meet at least one of the following identified disaster risk criteria:
  • Located in a floodway or floodplain, have another quantifiable flood risk, or be located in another high-risk area designated by DEP, or
  • Have a documented flood or loss from Hurricane Ida, or
  • Vulnerable to climate change as determined by resilience planning.

What is a Safe Housing Incentive?

  • The Blue Acres program offers a Safe Housing Incentive to help homeowners cover the cost of moving to a safer location.
  • To receive the incentive, applicants must agree to move to an area that is outside the Special Flood Hazard Area or the 100-year floodplain, as defined by FEMA, the National Flood Insurance Program, or DEP’s Inland Flood Rule.

How do you apply?

Homeowners must complete a Blue Acres Application AND the Hurricane Ida Registration to indicate their interest in selling their property voluntarily.

Applications received by DEP that preliminarily meet CDBG-DR funding criteria may be sent a HUD Eligibility Buyout Application link. This will allow property owners to submit additional information in order to confirm HUD eligibility. Once HUD buyout eligibility is determined, the voluntary buyout process will begin.

Complete the Hurricane Ida Registration on the DCA website.

Homeowners may submit a Blue Acres Application:

  • Online with the use of a personal computer, laptop, smart phone, or tablet. To apply online in English and Spanish, visit the Blue Acres website.
  • By printing and mailing the application to Blue Acres. Find a printable application with the mailing address on the Blue Acres website.
  • By calling (609) 940-4140 to speak with a representative or leave a voicemail.
  • By emailing the application to

Additional Information:

Tenants who are permanently displaced as a result of a buyout are eligible for assistance in accordance with the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (URA), as amended.

DCA provides free housing counseling and legal services to Blue Acres applicants to assist in the recovery process. Property owners can receive assistance with the application, compiling documentation, and long-term housing plans. They may also receive referral services as needed.