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UPDATE: No Permanent Fort Monmouth Housing for Sandy Victims

In a later interview, Rep. Declan O'Scanlon clarified his earlier remarks about the role proximity will play in selecting who gets into Fort Monmouth housing.

(see bolded text for update)

State Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon today clarified a statement that came from the governor's office Monday night, regarding housing for displaced Sandy victims.

According to O'Scanlon, the Sandy housing units at Fort Monmouth will all be temporary and will initially total 180 (this includes the 45 currently being prepared for move in on Dec. 20).

O'Scanlon told Patch this includes 42 units on Megill Drive in Eatontown and 130 in the lodge area of Oceanport (pictured here), "give or take 10 units."

"That might be able to be expanded by another couple of hundred units if the need arises," he said, adding that the expansion would come in the lodge area. All units would only be available for about 18 months.

O'Scanlon said he expected the "vast majority" who choose to locate here will only stay for about a year and that in that time all children will be bussed back to their home districts.

One of FEMA's main criteria for relocating displaced residents is proximity to their homes, O'Scanlon said. That would mean that those in Oceanport and the surrounding towns such as Monmouth Beach, Sea Bright and the Bayshore area could likely find a temporary spot at the fort.

In a later interview O'Scanlon clarified these remarks to say, "We very well may have some folks in greater need of housing  - that are a little further away - than those in the immediate area."

"The talk of permanent housing," he said, "in Officer's Row (in Oceanport) and Howard Commons (in Eatontown) won't be suitable for displaced storm victims."

These units he said would not be available for six months to a year because of the Request for Offer to Purchase process, which is lengthy.

These units he said, are part of the redevelopment plan agreed upon by the towns in 2008.

"We are going to take care of everybody," he said. "But people need to communicate their need to FEMA first. They can call my office if they are not getting any action."

In the last week and a half, O'Scanlon said his office processed housing requests from about 70 displaced residents.

O'Scanlon stressed the importance of residents contacting FEMA first to alert the agency to their need. He also suggested that the displaced go to a Disaster Recovery Center and have a face to face conversation with a FEMA representative.

He also confirmed today that until recently FEMA hotline representatives were not fully aware of the Fort Monmouth housing and were not offering it to displaced people. Since that time he said, FEMA has been contacting those people to ask them about locating at the fort.

O'Scanlon also said that FEMA has identified 122 potential places to locate FEMA trailers - off site from Fort Monmouth. Click here to read more about the FEMA trailers headed to this area.

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Original report: Gov. Chris Christie announced Monday evening that the state and the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) will issue "requests for offer to purchase" on 375 units at the defunct military installation. School students who end up living at the fort will be provided busing to their home districts, Christie said in a release.

The state plans to renovate several hundred housing units at Fort Monmouth in addition to the 45 units it's expected to open Dec. 20 to house area residents displaced by superstorm Sandy.

That announcement had been expected by local and state officials and should eliminate the need for Oceanport to sublease a fort building to house residents.

Oceanport Mayor Michael Mahon called the announcement a "step in the right direction."

"It's overdue," he said, "and I'm hopeful that it can come on line as quickly as possible. Hopefully this will be a nice Christmas gift for many families who lost so much."

These new housing units will be offered as permanent housing and not the long term temporary housing previously discussed. "This unlocks the opportunity for other redevelopment that could have commercial potential."

Oceanport, mostly a bedroom community, lacks significant ratables from businesses. It has long been the plan to redevelop the fort into a live, work, play community where businesses locate their to serve the residents.

“Among our top priorities is to ensure that everyone who has been displaced by Hurricane Sandy can find temporary housing that meets their needs in one available form or another, so they can begin to recover from this major disaster,” Christie said. 

The Christie Administration, in partnership with FEMA, also will:

  • Place manufactured housing units on existing pads in mobile home parks
  • Request an extension of FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance program to accommodate those residents who are currently staying in hotels and motels. The program will be re-evaluated to determine the need beyond the January extension date;
  • Add Hudson and Bergen counties to the list of jurisdictions where FEMA’s Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) Pilot Program is offered. Through the program, homeowners can apply through their municipalities for eligible repair work on residences, including electrical meter repairs, shelter essential measures and rapid temporary exterior repairs so that they can live in their homes while permanent repairs are made. The program is already offered in Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth, Ocean, and Middlesex counties.

“A very high percentage of displaced households were staying with family and friends when they registered with FEMA. However, as some of these housing situations become unsustainable, residents who have been unable to secure available, affordable housing will need additional temporary housing alternatives,” said Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III.

Michael Hand December 11, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Is there a way that people can volunteer to help get the units ready for the families to move in?
Lyn From LB December 11, 2012 at 12:08 AM
I agree Mike. I am so glad that although the previous employees were relocated due to work, it still has a viable purpose.
Donald Galante December 11, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Mayor Mahon deserves a big well done!
Linda A. Hupfer December 11, 2012 at 01:12 AM
I am so happy that this facility will FINALLY be used. Unfortunatly it took a disaster to get this off the ground. There should never have been any back and forth with a decision to use such a huge facitily. This should have been decided from day 1. With so many families displaced, this was a "no brainer".
Crazyroll 71 December 11, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Are these families from Oceanport? Or are the families from outside the area?
Scott December 11, 2012 at 01:47 AM
What about the vacant housing units at Earle Navy Depot? I realizr=e that this is an active post, but there is housing there that has been vacant for quite a long time.
Dominick Palermo December 11, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Scott -They were torn down \
Big Whitey December 11, 2012 at 01:04 PM
As Crazyroll's question points out, I dont think OP residents are as happy as some of the posters here. Three hundred families? Permanent? In a lilly white town like OP? Hahaha, I can tell you I know of more than a few nervous parents who are worried about who their snowflake will be going to school with. Oh, this should be fun to watch. Dont think for a minute all these kids will bus to Keansburg, Union Beach, Highlands, Atlantic City. I amy even wander in to the next town meeting.
Dentss Dunnagun December 11, 2012 at 01:09 PM
It's called everybody chipping in for the common good ....stop trying to paint this in a unfavorably light ....if a family has kids those kids need to be educated .
Big Whitey December 11, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Sure Dents, but your not from Oceanport. "Are these families from Oceanport? Or are the families from outside the area?" This is what every family in OP is thinking right now. Of course they want to help, and educate these kids. But not in their school and their town. This will be like when they fought affordable housing, just watch. I
Michael R. Anderson December 11, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Something I have always felt is there are a lot of buildings right on the fort that could be converted to an Elementary School. If that was the case, it would open a lot of jobs for teachers and maintenance workers, plus it would solve the busing problem. For that matter, there's a supermarket, gas station, post office, hospital, bowling alley, and a field with bleachers which could be used for football or baseball games for kids. The entire fort is basically a town within a town.
Jay Coffey December 11, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Hey, Big Whitey, having grown up in Bayonne and educated in Jersey City, I am a little less worried about who my little snowflakes are going to be sitting next to in school than I am about the fact that we have little or no particulars on how this plan is going to impact (a) Oceanport's tax rate, (b) the re-development of Oceanport's portion of Fort Monmouth and (c) Oceanport's municipal services (e.g., police, fire, sanitation). These are all valid questions that we have the right to ask of our elected officials. I invite you to wander into our next town meeting, identify yourself and participate in the discussion. I don't think anybody in Oceanport has a problem with "chipping in for the common good" and I believe that everybody is in concert with the idea that these kids need to be educated, but I think we are owed a detailed explanation as to how all of this is going to be effectuated and how much it is going to cost the Borough of Oceanport. As I understand the Governor's press release, those children who are living in temporary housing will have the ability to be transported to their home school district (as noted by Big Whitey, at the parents' option). But, as I read the law, once the temporary residents accept permanent housing, that transportation option would no longer be available and the children would attend Oceanport schools or Shore Regional High School. If that's not the case, I'd like to hear it from somebody who knows differently.
Mischa December 11, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Also there are hundreds of houses on Pinebrook Dr, Eatontown that were Gov't housing.
Mischa December 11, 2012 at 04:08 PM
With the recent storm and folks without housing, I guess all of these good suggestions will go on the back-burner. Before the fort closed, I suggested to the BRAC Committee and Revitalization Team that the Main Post of Ft. Monmouth is ideal to serve as a Satellite College Campus. Brookdale, Monmouth, Stevens U or Rutgers and the local communities could largely benefit from such as endeavor. As you stated above - the Fort is a town and has every facility imaginable to include a large state of the art research laboratory.
Big Whitey December 11, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Bart and Jay, of course you are both right. It is not the way I think either, but I know a few who are starting to whisper. Especially Mom's of school age kids. I keep my identity hidden because I often take on unpopular issues against the public employees unions, school boards and local politicians. I try and speak against the grain, and it is often not the popular opinion. But that is what got us Obama, so I will continue to torment the Liberals as I stay friends with them. But all of us agree the Govt at all levels is dropping the ball with Fort Monmouth.
MiddletownResident December 11, 2012 at 08:57 PM
and WTF Is wrong with the kids from OUTSIDE of the OP area being schooled...u act like everyone outside of Oceanport are bad....If OP Residents dont like it..too freakin bad...suck it up cupcakes...this isn;t about you and your prissy attitudes...pretty sure OP Has drug problems and other issues..you aren't immune because of where u live
Jesse December 11, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Sorry if this is a stupid question but does anyone know if the units in Fort Monmouth will be furnished? Most of the families seeking temporary housing there have lost their homes due to flooding so their furniture is now gone. Will the people have to obtain and bring furniture with them?
THROW THE BUMS OUT!!!! December 11, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Another BS back pedal from one of our elected officials. We need to throw the bums out at every single election until they get the message. Cut their political career short. They all want their names in the paper, but don't want to actually do anything but work on their next election. THROW THE BUMS OUT!
Dominick Palermo December 11, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Jesse---he main facility they are using is the hotel by the east gate ----- so that will definetly be furnished
Dominick Palermo December 11, 2012 at 11:11 PM
How long would you want anyone to live in a hotel????????
Barney December 11, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Rumor has it they are accepting Asbury Park/Neptune residents as a priority due to the inadequate funds of those cities. The children will most likely migrate into the OP school system. I think this is a great thing for OP. They might have to pay a little more for schools and funding but they get a little diversity in exchange for it.
Jesse December 12, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Thanks Dominick.
Barney December 12, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Oceanport needs more diversity!! These poor kids from Asbury and Neptune deserve a chance. It's not like the whole neighborhood is coming over. It will just cost a tad more on taxes down the road.
Dominick Palermo December 12, 2012 at 03:38 AM
Barney--------When the parents of these kids can afford to live in Oceanport -They will ---- Until that time -they will live where they can afford -----------I wanna live in a 10 milllion dollar home in Deal-----but cant afford it so i live in Eatontown
Barney December 12, 2012 at 12:06 PM
Dominick, Don't deny these kids a free shot into the Oceanport Schools. Oceanport is starving for diversity. I am sure many (not all) people of Oceanport would welcome kids from Asbury and Neptune to help them build a path to a better future. Barney
Dominick Palermo December 12, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Barney---------You got to be joking -------Where do you live Barney???? ---send them to your schools ----------- Neptune has a indoor pool---no oceanport school has a 6 lane indoor pool -------They are better off in Neptune
Sutah Ann Robins December 12, 2012 at 03:45 PM
"Leasing the beach. Selling the shore." I can help if anyone needs a rental or home for sale in the are. Sutah 732.539.6272
Big Whitey December 12, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Dont forget, the Neptune and Asbury kids will bring that Abbott money with them.Oceanport may even be able to afford a pool now too.
lisa December 13, 2012 at 01:33 AM
how sad is this conversation, that all you people are fighting over children being denied in your home town to go to school. You should be ashamed of yourselves and maybe if you went through what they did and thousands more then see how it feels when your kids are denied. We are talking about education. And yes many kids from all over different towns have kids succeeding no matter if their white, black or any other color. Shame on you all and may you all rot in hell. Dont tell me that your town doesnt have probs due to students. Its all over
Gary Parent December 29, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Hey Dominick, gosh why would you want to live in Deal? Heck if you had 10 million to spend on a house you buy up a whole block in Oceanport and live in a different house every day ha ha.

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