About 900 Monmouth and Ocean County residents are still in shelters or hotels after Hurricane Sandy forced people from their homes, a Federal Emergency Management Administration official said Tuesday night.
Tom Davies, FEMA's liaison to Ocean County, said there are about 300 people are in shelters, 500 in hotels and St. Mary's is providing shelter for an additional 100 people.
"People are still in shelters and our aim is to get them into transitional housing," Davies said at the Toms River Township Council Meeting on Tuesday. "This could take time."
Interviewed last night after the Stafford Township Council meeting, Township Administrator Jim Moran told Patch that the town has presented a plan to FEMA about a possible location for FEMA mobile homes, but he said FEMA is still trying to determine what the demand would be before deciding how many - if any -would be brought to the township.
"At this point, I would say the best bet for people [who have been displaced and want to stay in the area] is to look at some of the rentals on LBI," Moran said. He noted that many areas of Long Beach Island were "basically untouched" by the storm, and rental properties are available.
Davies spoke to the Toms River Council when local officials were briefing the governing body and public about the response to the storm, which devastated communities along the Monmouth and Ocean shoreline.
They include Sea Bright, Union Beach, Bay Head, Mantoloking, Lavallette, Seaside Heights and the Ortley Beach section of Toms River, where the storm flooded many waterfront neighborhoods and left thousands without power.
Davies said FEMA has provided $66 million to Ocean County residents already. More than 2,000 FEMA representatives are in New Jersey already and 43,000 people in Ocean County have registered for federal assistance after Hurricane Sandy.
That did not satisfy Dr. Maureen Persi, a resident of Ortley Beach who has been displaced from the storm and only knows that her house is standing after seeing the tip of the roof from her home on a bus tour.
Persi said she has made six separate phone calls, including one from a disaster relief center that has not produced any results. She has stayed with relatives and then at a hotel in Bordentown, until she was able to find a hotel room in Toms River on Sunday, Nov. 11.
"Everybody just gives you lip service," she said. Her repeated attempts to get help from FEMA still have not provided success, despite expectations that the poor response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 would have led to improvements in disaster relief.
"They nailed (President George W.) Bush on that and I don't see where the improvement is," Persi said.