Sandy Victims 60% Face Mental Health Problems

500 Households Still Homeless
Monmouth University Poll

Sandy Victims 60% Face Mental Health ProblemsA recent Monmouth University poll found that “Most displaced Sandy victims suffer from emotional distress …”

A March 20, 2014 Star-Ledger article reported on this poll, stated that,

“More than 60% of residents still displaced say they have experienced mild to serious emotional distress, with people staying in trailers or hotels most likely to experience severe symptoms, according to the Monmouth University Poll released today. In contrast, residents who have returned home reported fewer mental health problems, with 35% saying they are suffering from psychological distress.”

This data can be used along with the findings of a 2013 Enterprise Community Partners study that found 43% of those impacted by Sandy are renters and of that number, 67% make less than $30,000. Together the findings paint a picture of low-income renters experiencing mental health problems and at risk of homelessness.

About 500 Sandy victims are still without permanent homes. This is concerning given the recent news that the federal Sandy aid may not be reaching those low-income renters who have the greatest need.

“Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said he rarely sees such a difference between two groups with similar demographic profiles.

‘The pace of Sandy recovery is having an undeniable impact on the emotional health of residents who have not been able to return to their homes,’ he said.”

The survey also found a significant gap in mental well-being among Sandy victims who remain displaced from their pre-Sandy homes and those who are back in those homes. Those who are displaced (63%) are nearly twice as likely as those who are living in their pre-Sandy homes (35%) to self-report symptoms of psychological distress.

Among Sandy victims who have not returned to their pre-storm homes, 34% show signs of serious distress and 29% report symptoms of mild to moderate distress. Just 37% have no signs of distress.

Those who are still living in a hotel or trailer (77%) are the most likely to exhibit mental health concerns including nearly half who are in the serious distress category. About two-thirds of those who are in a more stable temporary housing situation (67%) or living with family or friends (65%) have some degree of distress. About one-third of these two groups have serious distress.

Click here for the full study.

Click here for the Star-Ledger article.