MMM has learned that FEMA and Department of Community Affairs housing inspectors have given “high marks” to buildings at the former Fort Monmouth for potential use as long term temporary housing for Monmouth County residents displaced by Superstorm Sandy.
In an email to board members of the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) forwarded to MMM by Freeholder Lillian Burry, a member of the board, Executive Director Bruce Steadman said that FEMA and DCA is working on a plan to use 7 lodging buildings in along the Shrewsbury River in Oceanport to house 600-900 people in 300 units, as well as 21 “McGill” units at the golf course which could house 42 families. These units could be used as temporary housing for up to 18 months, according to FEMA guidelines.
Gibbs Hall, the commissary building, the gymnasium and the prep school have been deemed not suitable for housing.
Steadman told the board that FMERA has informed the Army that they want to expedite the purchase of the Howard Commons area, the historical housing area of the main post, and the golf course, to support post-Sandy housing needs.
Burry said that there could be up to 10,000 residents of Monmouth County in need of temporary housing as a result of the damage caused by Sandy. Union Beach, Highlands, Sea Bright and the low lying areas of Middletown…Belford, Leonardo, Port Monmouth and North Middletown…were struck with storm surges that exceeded 8 feet, leaving homes in the wake uninhabitable. Additionally, the Two River towns of Little Silver and Oceanport have several displaced residents due to flooded homes, according to Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon.
In addition to the former Fort Monmouth, federal, state and county officials are evaluating the Bradlee’s parking lot on Route 36 in Hazlet, the former Bell Labs property in Holmdel, and the Hartshorne Woods County Park in Highlands/Navesink as possible sites for FEMA trailer cities.
O’Scanlon said that he is impressed and grateful for the level of cooperation between the various government agencies working on evaluating the former Fort Monmouth for temporary housing.
“I am very encouraged to know everyone is working together to assess the resources at Fort Monmouth that might be able to help us house our displaced residents,” said O’Scanlon, “We will continue to push for quick answers but the level of cooperation amongst the agencies involved is encouraging. The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are taking all the right steps to vet out this option. The Monmouth County Prosecutor, Christopher J. Gramiccioni, has also been a key part of this process and I appreciate his active involvement. On behalf of my constituents, I am grateful for the effort.”