Over 15,000 families still waiting to rebuild, Sandy report finds

     Homes destroyed in October by Superstorm Sandy are seen Thursday, April 25, 2013, at Ortley Beach, in Toms River, N.J.  (Mel Evans/AP Photo)

    Homes destroyed in October by Superstorm Sandy are seen Thursday, April 25, 2013, at Ortley Beach, in Toms River, N.J. (Mel Evans/AP Photo)

    A report from an advocacy coalition recommends reforms to the Hurricane Sandy recovery process after finding that thousands of families are still waiting to rebuild over two years later. 

    The State of Sandy Recovery report, issued by the Fair Share Housing Center, the Latino Action Network, and the NAACP New Jersey State Conference, provides data and firsthand accounts of displaced renters and homeowners, analyzing fairness, effectiveness, and transparency in New Jersey’s use of federal funds.

    “The state of Sandy recovery is far from complete for over 15,000 families impacted by Sandy,” FSHC Staff Attorney Adam Gordon said. “We call on the Christie Administration to redouble its efforts to get everyone back home, from Moonachie to Toms River, Keansburg to Atlantic City. Governor Christie should not forget about thousands of people who still are struggling over two years after Sandy.”

    The report suggests various improvements to the recovery process, including:

    Providing people waiting for funding with more information on the steps ahead in the process and when they can expect funds;
    Doing more to help people dealing with unscrupulous contractors especially given recent reports that the state failed to screen those contractors; and,
    Better marketing of the State’s new programs for renters and homeowners in English and Spanish.

    Advocates are calling for government action to remedy the problems that the report exposes. 

    “The State has to ensure that its effort going forward are inclusive to all communities. A transparent process, adequate funding, and effective dissemination of information will pave the way for a successful recovery,” said Frank Argote-Freyre, president of the Latino Action Network. 

    Richard Smith, president of the NAACP New Jersey State Conference, echoes Argote-Freyre’s comment.

    “New Jersey still has a long road ahead to make Sandy recovery fair and effective for all communities,” he said.

    “We hope that by this time next year we will be much further along in rebuilding for everyone.”

    Read the report here.

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