FEMA Housing Deadline is April 1 [AUDIO]
Families who were displaced by Superstorm Sandy and forced to take refuge at Fort Monmouth or in trailers spread around the state face being uprooted again unless state and federal officials can come up with alternative housing arrangements.
The agreement between FEMA and the former military base expires on April 1. To help them out, the Christie administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are working to find solutions for the families affected.
Gov. Chris Christie has sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting a six-month extension. That would place the new deadline in September if it gets an approval. So far, there has been no response from the White House on the request.
As of now, there are about 45 families left on the base and 32 in trailers. According to Alberto Pillot, a FEMA representative, the issue is a standard policy for the agency.
"Oftentimes, programs like these are in place for anywhere from a year to 18 months following a major disaster," Pillot said. "There's an excellent chance they will extend it but for right now, it's out of our hands and the waiting game."
A lot of the people still remaining are either waiting for a complete rebuild of their home or are renters waiting for more affordable units to open up. The morale of the families has been up and down. As a result, FEMA has offered crisis counseling to those in need and is working to help the residents as best as they can under the current conditions.
But what happens if the deadline isn't extended?
"Regardless of what happens, these people won't be thrown out into the cold," Pillot said. "We are working now to try and place people before the deadline comes up but if there are unresolved cases, we will keep doing everything in our power to work for them."