Fort Monmouth Will Make More Units Available For Sandy Victims [AUDIO]
Fort Monmouth managed to open its doors to house Sandy victims in record time; however FEMA and residents needing the semi-permanent housing can't seem to get on the same page.
With thousands still living in hotels, shelters, and with relatives the housing on Fort Monmouth was chosen because it provides a safe, comfortable, and convenient option for families, but since the making the option available the official demand has been underwhelming.
However, Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon says this is an instance where the demand hasn't been properly represented because initially families or residents wanting to stay in the Fort fell through the cracks.
He acknowledges there have been numerous cases of people calling FEMA, and being given the runaround, but says it's been taken care of.
"The problem was, there was a number of FEMA call centers throughout the country dealing with a number of different disasters or impacts to people. And not that all of them had the information." O'Scanlon says the problem has been fixed, but suggests residents take a proactive approach to guarantee help.
"What we're encouraging people to do is go into a Disaster Recovery Center and make sure that their housing needs are communicated to FEMA, and if they still feel they're not getting satisfaction they can call my legislative office."
Currently roughly 45 units are open for settlement, which O'Scanlon says was because the government didn't want to get ahead of the initial low demand, however he anticipates up to about 300 units will be ultimately available.
"The housing options that are legitimate and good options for families meaning, better options for families than a well equipped trailer, you're looking at probably two to three hundred units."
O'Scanlon also attributes the low initial request for housing due to residents not being made aware, especially if the storm has forced them to relocate to other parts of the state. The Assemblyman says they're making a greater effort to make the public informed, as well as FEMA is taking a more hands on approach.
"FEMA has sent out people to go and visit folks in hotel room and in living quarters that FEMA is aware of."
However, he says the challenge will be to find the folks not in the loop, since they are the ones who need help the most.