Residents displaced by Sandy seek new homes at rental fair
Stuart Griffin moved his family to Atlantic City from Cincinnati two weeks before October's Hurricane Sandy.
"That was our welcome-to-Atlantic City moment," he said.
During the storm the home his family rented near the bay became damaged and Griffin said he has yet to find an adequate replacement for himself, his wife and their three children. They currently live in a rental in Brigantine but will have to move out when the summer season begins.
"It's been horrible," he said. "When you finally find a place it's a weekly rental or only for the summer."
With so many housing units damaged during Sandy it has been difficult for local residents to find housing in the area. The state Department of Community Affairs held a fair Friday at the Convention Center with 65 landlords and real estate agents to inform residents of various openings in the region.
Greg Vida, acting DCA director, said more than 300 people attended the fair, including 75 who were in line by 1 a.m. - four hours before the event began.
Many Sandy victims lost their vehicles so it is difficult for them to go to many different locations. The fair also had representatives from FEMA and the state Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency to help people apply for Section 8 housing vouchers and programs to help people purchase homes.
Kathi Luczynski, property manager for Best of Life Park senior housing complex in front of the Taj Mahal, said an issue for Sandy victims is that many of them took a hit on their credit score. They had to spend more money to replace items they lost and may have lost their jobs, she said.
The complex is working with these applicants to verify their credit standing before Sandy and be more accommodating so they can be accepted into the complex, she said.
The amount of vacant rentals is so small that some residents are looking toward Camden and Burlington counties, Vida said.
Regina Mattison, a property manager for The Tamerlanes in Sicklerville, Winslow Township, Camden County, said her complex took in more than a dozen applications at the fair Friday. The facility has bus service to Atlantic City and Philadelphia and advertises that it's a half hour from the resort via the Atlantic City Expressway.
"I'm happy to be able to do this and help victims of Sandy," she said. "I didn't know what to expect when I came here, but it feels good."
Atlantic City resident Vera Clark has had to live with her grandmother in Pleasantville since the storm and said the lack of jobs in the area has had her contemplating a move away from the region.
"I need to move out of the area," she said. "There are more jobs, better transportation, and it's safer for my (three) kids."
Contact Joel Landau:
Follow Joel Landau on Twitter @landaupressofac