By Christie Duffy
Sandy Victim Amy Davey is sick and on bed-rest. But she pushed herself today to find the right key to unlock the door to her Sandy ravaged home.
“I’m standing here today because I’m not the only person who is suffering. I will not be able to rest easily until everyone is safe,” said Davey.
Davey represents one of 16 families still living in FEMA housing. It’s been nearly two years of longing to get back here while staying in a trailer 20 minutes away.
But her time is running out. A letter from FEMA arrived, ordering Davey to move out and to surrender possession of the trailer by the end of August. If not, she’ll be forced to pay $1,745 a month to stay.
That’s fair market value, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and includes a $400 fine from FEMA thrown on top.
For Davey, all of this is out of reach.
“I am really maxed out between the mortgage and all of the other things I have to worry about, there is now way I could pay for a rental. The problem is there really is no where to go,” said Davey.
Davey has been approved for a grant to rebuild and to raise her home but she says it’ll be another six months before her house starts to look like the one next door.
Davey fears that before then, she and her dog Gracie may be living out of her car. She wrote to Congressman Frank LoBiondo to ask for an extension to stay in the trailer until her home is ready.
“Oh gosh– people just need the stability we all really just need to stay where we are that’s all were asking just give us enough time to get back home,” said Davey.
FEMA today said an extension will not be considered.
But FEMA and the state say they’re committed to helping people like Davey avoid homelessness. The Department of Community Affairs stated, “Long term recovery groups are working diligently to provide one-on-one assistance. The goal is to make sure everyone still living in FEMA direct housing can either return home or has temporary housing in place before the August 31 deadline.”
That work includes regular meetings with people like Davey, working to find affordable rental situations and moving people swiftly and efficiently through the home rebuilding process.
As of June, 38 homes have been completed with funds from the RREM program. Thousands have been awarded grants and about 2,500 other New Jerseyans still waiting for awards.