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New Report Shows Struggles of Renters Impacted by Sandy

Posted by Kevin Walsh on May 8th 2013

Shortfall in assistance to renters threatens to permanently displace thousands

Today, Fair Share Housing Center is releasing a new report, “Faces of Sandy: A Fair Share for Renters,” showing the devastating impact of a lack of resources for lower-income renters to rebuild through the stories of six families. The report, which is available here, will be officially released today at the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey’s semi-annual Membership Meeting, with Dayna Hartley, an 18-year old high school senior in Ventnor, talking about her family’s struggle to rebuild after Sandy destroyed their home.

“We need to make sure that Sandy does not become the next Katrina,” Fair Share Housing Center Staff Attorney Andrew Todd F. Kunka said. “The Christie Administration needs to ensure that everyone has a chance to rebuild after Sandy - including the thousands of low-income renters who remain displaced today.”

“As renters, we were the hardest hit, with the least options for help,” Sal Amato, displaced from Point Pleasant, says in the report. Mr. Amato, who took the train from his Point Pleasant home to South Amboy when Sandy hit, then walked eight miles to a shelter, struggled for months to get assistance, bouncing between shelters and motels, and today still is living fifty miles from Point Pleasant.

Ms. Hartley will speak today about her family’s experience. Her father works for the City of Ventnor and worked to operate water pumps during Sandy to try to save others’ homes, but they still have not been able to find a permanent place to live, as Ms. Hartley works to finish her senior year in high school.

The report also details the Christie Administration’s underallocation of resources to help displaced renters, and makes a series of policy recommendations based on the families’ experiences for changes to make sure that families are able to come back, including:

  • Find a way to bridge the gap for renters that need help now.

  • Ensure that renters get a fair share of rebuilding resources.

  • Focus funds on the most impacted communities.

  • Make sure people have a choice about where to rebuild.

“Now is the time when the critical choices are being made,” Kunka added. “We hope the Christie Administration makes those choices in a way that enables everyone impacted by Sandy to return.”

Contacts:
Andrew Kunka - andrewkunka@fairsharehousing.org
Adam M. Gordon - adamgordon@fairsharehousing.org