Weekend hotel evictions continuing for displaced Sandy victims

Status OF Transition Sheltering Assistance Extension Is Uncertain. Refugees Left To Fend For Themselves With No Notice

By Art Gallagher

Evicitions from FEMA sponsored hotel accommodations are continuing this weekend for New Jersey residents whose homes were destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.  MoreMonmouthMusings  reported on Wednesday that some residents have been left to sleep in their cars on weekends.

NJ.com is reporting that the Ocean Place Resort in Long Branch is evicting refugees to accomodate a pre-booked scrapbooking retreat.

Highlands residents Angus Mcdougland and Leia Sims have been living at Ocean Place since Sandy destoyed their home.  This morning they received a notice from the hotel that they needed to check out today or pay $260 per night to stay.  Mcdougland told MMM that there is a college basketball team filling the hotel, in addition to the scrapbookers.

Lois Pongo, also of Highlands, was locked out the room where she’s been staying this week at the Holiday Inn in Hazlet this morning.  Hotel employees told her that she was no longer eligible for transitional housing assistance.  Pongo paid for her room for tonight and is scrambling to get her contractors to finish the repairs on her home this weekend.

Pongo visited the FEMA Recovery Center in Leonardo on Thursday to verify that her temporary housing was to be extended. She was left with the impression that her temporary housing was in place.  The Leonardo FEMA office which had been so helpful earlier this week said they could not help her today.

Governor Christie announced on Thursday that FEMA’s transitional housing program had been extended for two weeks until January 25th.  Evidently someone at FEMA gave Christie bad or incomplete information.

Posted: January 12th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, FEMA, Hurricane Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

One Comment on “Weekend hotel evictions continuing for displaced Sandy victims”

  1. Lois said at 8:09 am on January 13th, 2013:

    Some clarification: “said they could not help her” actually was that they could not find in my file why i was not eligible….

    BUT—-then everyone scrambled like crazy to be of assistance: the fema office manager, the people she contacted, the fema workers who answered my call to the fema “Hot Line”–all of which bumped my situation up 2 tiers. Thus in many areas of fema folks were working immediately and very hard to get me extended.

    Good news: later that night i called back the Hot Line and was informed i am approved, until Jan. 25th, the next expiration date for the TSA program.

    Plus, the fema manager gave me contact info for the Salvation Army which has been assisting people all along, and asked me to contact her personally on Monday to keep her posted.

    AND, our Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon became personally involved immediately upon hearing of my plight, assuring me he would bring all forces to bear to be sure i had housing while my repairs continue [drag on….].

    All in all it was a meat-grinder experience, made totally bearable by alllll these people trying to do their very best, and going extra miles to be sure i had a roof over my head.

    You should not be left with the impression of anything “heartless and cruel” going on here. 1) These hotel/motels have had these events booked sometimes for years–monies were paid—guests booked their rooms—the Bride deserves her day, the scrapbookers theirs. We Sandy victims are not lying broken and bleeding on the floor: use your resources, and creativity, and find another solution for the night or 2. Be prepared: be able to pack up quickly and vacate… Everyone’s needs need to be considered. It is not heartless and cruel for these establishments to honor their commitments—-it’s part of what we must deal with.

    2) It is not FEMA’s job to make us whole/solve all our problems/”take care of us”. In this case i thank God this very big enormously wide-spread, complicated and effective Government program exists, and functions as well as it does. It is my job to take care of MY problems–in doing this, they have always been quick to lend a helping hand.

    As have been my friends: thanks, Art, for being the shoulder to cry on when i was at my wits end. And THANKS Declan—-this is one guy folks who knows the true meaning of “Public Servant”. I am sooooo grateful, for everything.

    PS–the one thing missing here is beforehand notifications….

    But hey—-good, thorough, accurate, complete, timely communications is one of the big problems in life—all over.