Following Sandy, the need for homes in New Jersey has reached unprecedented heights. During the storm, more than 25,000 lower-income families in New Jersey — with a disproportionate number of African-American and Latino families from Cape May County to Toms River to Jersey City — saw their homes destroyed or severely damaged. That led to an extreme housing shortage and increased rents. At a housing rental fair in Atlantic City on May 17, hundreds of homeless families still displaced by Hurricane Sandy came in search of a safe place to live, but found few opportunities.
Too many of those families have stories similar to that of Newark resident Helen Gradziel, who has been forced to live in a severely mold- and rat-infested apartment that was without heat for most of the winter. Or Lori Dibble, whose manufactured home in Highlands was nearly destroyed and who is still living in hotel more than six months after the hurricane.
At this time of extreme need, it is unbelievable the Christie administration is attempting to seize these funds and stop the development of new homes.
If seized, more than 3,000 homes already proposed would be lost. Examples include 148 apartments serving Sandy victims in Middle Township, Cape May County; 120 homes for people with special needs in Edison, Middlesex County; and more than 50 new Habitat for Humanity homes throughout Morris County.