Survey: Majority of hardest hit N.J. Sandy residents feel forgotten

Photo: Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Photo: Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Five years after Superstorm Sandy pummeled New Jersey, a majority of the hardest hit residents feel like they have been forgotten during the recovery process, according to a Monmouth University Poll survey.

In a survey of 432 participants from the university’s original 2013 poll, most remain dissatisfied with the state’s recovery effort, with some reporting difficulty with the state’s rebuilding assistance program while most saying their family’s financial situation has not yet recovered.

According to the survey, three in four have returned to their properties, including 18% who rebuilt from scratch, 47% making major repairs, and 9% requiring minor repairs to their homes.

Regarding the state’s Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation, and Mitigation (RREM) program, six out of 10 participants report experiencing “significant problems,“ with 17% either remaining in the pre-construction phase or not even sure of their current position in the program.

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Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said the numbers indicate that a struggle is still ongoing.

“Monmouth has been tracking some of New Jersey’s hardest hit Sandy victims for nearly five years and it is clear that the slow rate of recovery is something many will never be able to get over,” he said. “We have certainly seen some improvement in these residents’ attitudes. But with nearly 1-in-10 of those surveyed still waiting to return home, it is unlikely that a majority of Sandy victims will ever be satisfied with how New Jersey has handled the recovery.”

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