Sandy Survey Wants the ‘Truth’ From NJ Storm Victims
If your home suffered damage from Superstorm Sandy, your input is needed in a statewide survey that seeks the "truth" about lingering issues and the toll it's taken on New Jersey residents.
Officially known as the Sandy Truth Project, the partnership between New Jersey Organizing Project, Volunteer Lawyers for Justice and Rutgers University, is hoping to gather 500 to 800 responses from Sandy victims, either online or by canvassing storm-affected neighborhoods.
"We definitely want to dive in deep and we're looking for details," said Joe Mangino, cofounder of New Jersey Organizing Project, a nonprofit devoted to Sandy survivors.
So respondents won't just be asked if they're back home and happy with the recovery money they may have received. The survey seeks to learn who was a victim of contractor fraud, and how, or who's been contacted by the state to return some of the funds they received to rebuild.
Reports in October cited more than 170 homeowners who received notices demanding that money be repaid due to duplicative benefits.
Mangino said he's working on legislation with lawmakers to deal with "clawback" letters.
The survey also targets the lingering economic and health impacts of the October 2012 storm.
"We know a lot of people suffered mentally from this with PTSD and other issues," Mangino said. "And many people may now be back home but their home is facing foreclosure because they've exhausted everything they had just to get back into their house."
The survey will run for another two months or so, Mangino said. Members in January will canvas neighborhoods in Little Egg Harbor and Beach Haven. There are also plans to speak with residents of Brick, Toms River and northern Monmouth County.
"We want to be able to take action," Mangino said. "We're doing this survey to uncover what are the next things we need to work on."