NJ Spotlight, Oct. 29, 2014
Two years after Hurricane Sandy, those hardest hit by the storm feel they’ve been forgotten (71 percent) and are dissatisfied with the state’s recovery efforts, according to a new poll from the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Thirty-eight percent said they are very dissatisfied and 28 percent said they were somewhat dissatisfied.
No one knows the official count of those who have been unable to return to their homes after the storm, but anecdotal evidence from the Monmouth study indicates that many are still waiting. Over half of the survey participants were back in their homes within the year, and another 10 percent moved back last year. But that leaves about 40 percent still displaced, and 12 percent said they will never be able to return.
The state receives poor marks overall for communications with residents, specifically Sandy victims. Only 36 percent said the state has done a good job in that area.
The RREM (Reconstructive, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation) program comes under particular fire. This program is responsible for helping residents rebuild, repair or elevate their homes. Responsiveness to residents’ needs were criticized. Just 36 percent said the state did a good job of informing them of where they were in the process, while the rest said the state did a bad (28 percent) or very bad (36 percent) job. Those who were denied financial assistance complained of not having been given reasons for the denial.
Lastly, when asked to list agencies or people who have been helpful during this time of trial, Sandy victims chose friends and family (88 percent) as the most helpful. Least helpful? County government, followed by insurance companies, and then state government.