Few New Jersey residents displaced by Superstorm Sandy a year ago feel they are close to full recovery, while most feel they have been overlooked by the state's post-Sandy efforts, a survey by the Monmouth University Polling Institute finds.
Based on a tracking survey of New Jersey residents who were displaced for at least a month after the storm hit, the survey found that only 10 percent of respondents say they have fully recovered — including just 18 percent of those who have moved back into their homes and 3 percent of those who have not (or have decided to relocate permanently). The survey also found that slightly more than half (53 percent) of respondents remain displaced from their homes, more than a quarter (27 percent) of whom said they do not plan to move back; and that 43 percent expect their families to recover fully within the next year, while 31 percent said it will take at least two to three years longer and 16 percent said they will never recover. In contrast, a statewide poll conducted by Monmouth University in September found that 76 percent of all New Jersey residents said their families have fully recovered from the effects of the storm.
While the need for housing in areas affected by the storm has been largely addressed, displaced families continue to have urgent needs, including replacing furniture and appliances (42 percent), paying rent (26 percent) or making mortgage payments (23 percent), healthcare costs and/or coverage (14 percent), debt management (17 percent), and employment (14 percent). The survey also found that residents with incomes of less than $50,000 are 9 to 18 percentage points more likely than others affected by the storm to need most of these types of assistance.
Funded by the New Jersey Recovery Fund of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the survey found that 75 percent of displaced families felt they have been largely forgotten — including 85 percent of those still displaced and 64 percent of those who have returned to their homes. Only 25 percent of those surveyed felt that the state's recovery effort has focused on helping them.
"The Sandy recovery effort is certainly a tale of two states," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. "New Jerseyans who were displaced by the storm, even if they are now back in their homes, are significantly more negative than other Garden State residents about the pace and focus of recovery."