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By ARep | January 15th, 2013 - 3:46pm
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O’SCANLON CALLS ON LANDLORDS TO EASE LEASE TERM

RESTRICTIONS FOR SANDY VICTIMS

Many displaced residents cannot sign long term lease but need place to stay.

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon today made a public call to all landlords to help those in need of emergency housing. Since Superstorm Sandy left thousands displaced, many are looking for temporary housing while their homes are repaired or rebuilt.

“FEMA is working to provide temporary housing to all who have been displaced,” O’Scanlon said. “Many who use the housing research tools provided by FEMA are discovering that, while there is housing available, many of the landlords require a 6 six month or one year lease.”

New Jerseyans displaced from their homes due to damage from Hurricane Sandy are encouraged to use an online housing locator to help them quickly find affordable transitional or long-term housing. The New Jersey Housing Resource Center (HRC), located on the web at www.NJHRC.gov, is a free service to people in search of affordable housing and to landlords who are looking to provide housing. FEMA also provides an online housing portal at: www.fema.gov/housingportal.

“While these sites are useful, if landlords do not forgo their lease term requirements, it will be useless for hundreds, if not thousands, of displaced residents,” explained O’Scanlon. “ I am asking that the landlords who have available housing consider rescinding these term requirements in an effort to help out these families who need a place to stay while their homes are repaired.”

“I cannot imagine saying no to someone who is at the end of their rope and just needs a roof over their head,” O’Scanlon stated. “But ‘no’ is what many folks are hearing from some seemingly heartless landlords. I know these landlords are not really heartless which is why I am imploring them to change their policy and make this desperately needed housing available to our community members who lost so much.”

Today, the Christie Administration’s announced that, to help transition Sandy-displaced residents from hotels and motels and into more permanent housing solutions as quickly as possible, FEMA is permitting households receiving rental assistance to use this funding to pay for security deposits. This will give displaced New Jerseyans, who are residing in a hotel or motel because they do not have money for a security deposit, the opportunity to move into a rental unit. Households can utilize up to one month of their rental allotment for a security deposit and not have to give it back to FEMA at the end of the lease. FEMA will now provide rental assistance and security deposits.

“I realize what I'm asking may marginally increase expenses,” O’Scanlon said. “We're not looking for them to be burdened with excessive additional costs and with FEMA now covering the security deposit, much of any additional expense will be defrayed. The choice here is, do the right thing and absorb any marginal added expenses giving these folks, many who have lost everything, a roof over their head or, literally, leave them out in the cold. Seems to me that if you're a compassionate human being the choice is clear. ”

“If there are landlords out there who will do the right thing, and allow short term leases for displaced residents, please contact FEMA to get your listings on the available portals and reach out to my office that has been acting as a clearing house for those in need of housing at (732) 933-1591. We will get you in contact with the right people so your generosity can be put to good use. Any residents who are running into these types of issues should also contact my office with the details of the apartment building and landlord contact information. We intend to start reaching out to these facilities directly to persuade then to modify their policies,” O’Scanlon closed.

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