By Lauren Wanko
Jackson Township Resident Nadine Demczyszyn couldn’t afford a real Christmas tree this year. The family celebrated with small, artificial ones. They’re making sacrifices just to pay the $2,600 in monthly rent, says the mother of three.
“You have to have a full time job that pays well and then a second job and then sell stuff on the side you don’t need anymore,” Demczyszn said.
“Given the economic environment, we’ve seen layoffs, pay cuts, people’s hours have been cut. People just can’t afford to pay the rent,” said Nina Arce of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey.
In New Jersey, an average two-bedroom apartment costs $1,295 a month. Fifty-nine percent of renters can’t afford that. In Monmouth County, a two-bedroom apartment costs $1,410 a month. Sixty-four percent of renters can’t pay that bill. And in Ocean County, 67 percent of renters can’t afford it either.
Before moving to their four-bedroom home, the Demczyszyns looked in storm-damaged shore towns.
“As far as trying to find a rental anywhere in Ocean County, good luck! A lot of places we had looked at were saying how they weren’t trusting FEMA with paying money so they were raising the prices of homes and rentals because they could,” Demczyszyn said.
That ultimately made it hard for the family to find a home in Jackson Township.
“There was nothing available in Jackson. There’s very low market out there for rentals,” said Demczyszyn.
The Demczyszyns blame the economy and Superstorm Sandy for low inventory and monthly rent costs. Demczyszyn doesn’t spend money on hair cuts or color anymore. And they gave up their cell phones.
“The governor has not supported policies that would allow for more affordable home opportunities throughout the state. The governor has provided a lot of incentives for big business to come into the state so we have the jobs but if people can’t afford to live where they work, that’s gonna create a problem. Business aren’t gonna want to go where there are no employees,” Aree said.
The Demczyszyns own their own business, but they can’t afford to rent out office space any more, so they were forced to set up a home office.
“It’s been horrible. You’re not that daily contact with people anymore and the business is not gonna thrive if it’s in the house. It’s just not,” Demczyszyn said.
The Demczyszyns’ lease is up in September. They’re unsure if the family will stay here or move on again.