Hundreds of Displaced Toms River Residents Scramble for Housing

Toms River real estate agencies seeking viable rentals for victims of Hurricane Sandy

One of Hurricane Sandy’s most devastating after-effects has been the displacement of hundreds of local citizens from their homes, both on the barrier islands and the mainland. As a result, real estate professionals are seeing a great impact to the local real estate market.

“Right now, we’re just trying to help people find short-term rentals,” said Chris Anthony of Weichert Realtors in Toms River. “I was displaced myself, along with friends and family members, and we’re doing our best to find them homes. We’re working on that more than anything.”

Donna Walesiewicz of Crossroads Realty in Toms River said the push is greatest for rental properties.

“The biggest thing we’re facing right now is trying to get as many people affected by the storm into rentals. We’ve been in contact with Monmouth County, trying to get empty homes rented to these people,” said Walesiewicz.

Walesiewicz said that she and her co-workers have been working “around the clock” to accomplish that task.

“These people are already looking at being out of their homes for at least 8 months, and not knowing if FEMA can assist them. People are coming here with nothing, like they’re refugees. We rented a home to a lady yesterday, and she couldn’t stop crying and hugging me,” the realtor explained.

Walesiewicz described another situation where a rented residence in Point Pleasant located for tenants was initially without heat or electricity, until the generosity of neighbors provided them with those essentials.

“Our first priority is to find housing for those displaced, and get them a roof over their heads, heat and electricity. Everyone is helping out the best they can, and those who were affected have been strong and resilient,” said Walesiewicz.

Jim Flanagan, Broker of Record for Coldwell Banker in Toms River, also explained the job of finding housing for those displaced by Sandy as “our challenge and our crisis.”

“We don’t have an inventory of short-term rentals, but we are actively working with the Ocean County Board of Realtors on this. We have been inundated with calls for help from residents,” said Flanagan.

Flanagan characterized the areas where the calls originated from as “anywhere near water,” and specifically mentioned the barrier island, Shelter Cove, Snug Harbor, Green Island and Money Island, to name a few.

“In the next few weeks, the climate will be tense to find housing for everyone. FEMA does have housing available, but it’s not within the county. There are people who have children looking to go back to school and people who commute for work, looking at being without their homes for eight months to a year. In the short-term, it will be chaos,” Flanagan said.

The realtor said that his office had created an emergency housing list, and has notified residents on that list when housing has become available for them. According to Flanagan, they have also been in contact with the state on easing restriction for vacant homes in neighboring areas, to be able to offer them as rentals. He also encouraged those who may know of a vacant home to be rented to contact Mary Ann Wissel at the Ocean County Board of Realtors, at 732-244-8111.

NancyInTR November 12, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Suz, unless Silver Ridge had seceeded from the USA and declared itself an independent nation, it still falls under federal HUD laws. Your little HOA may have voted to ignore HUD...
Donna Griffin November 12, 2012 at 09:46 PM
suz -- Actually, I think the kids from Lavallette will be relocated to St. Barbara's in Toms River until their school is able to re-open. I get it that you aren't prepared to step up to the plate, where it really matters. It is more important for your retirement community to maintain its by-laws than it is to be a good neighbor. As far as vacancies are concerned, I know firsthand the retirement homes (even in Silver Ridge aka Beverly Hills apparently) are taking a huge hit in the real estate market and vacancies are plentiful. Thank you for letting the public know how Silver Ridge is prepared to help in the SHORT TERM by allowing those displaced in their community to live there for 2 months. BTW...people in Berkeley Township lost their homes too. Sandy did not discriminate along town borders but some of Ocean County's residents sure are.
Donna Griffin November 12, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Mattie - Interesting argument. But have you ever heard of eminent domain? Your government certainly has no problem legislating land grabs. I am also not talking about "commandeering" properties. For those property owners who would be inclined to assist their community in a time of crisis, I am merely suggesting that they be permitted to rent for a fee an otherwise unoccupied residence in an adult community for a period of 2-6 months to a small family (maximum 3 residents) without imposing an age restriction. You are the one who is assuming that I might even be suggesting that the government have ANYTHING to do with this arrangement. Clearly, from your posts in the past, American citizens are incapable of doing anything without government intervention.
Donna Griffin November 15, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Suggested this on another feed. I was surprised at the resistance of those communities to assist their younger neighbors. All that I can say is what goes around....comes around.
LittleLisaMichelle November 25, 2012 at 11:19 PM
I was homeless before the hurricane due to job loss. I've stayed on a family's couch, in my truck, and another friend's daughter's room when she's at her dad's. I'm a 43 year old full time student at OCC,now living off my student loan money that I finally just received, and a part-time job. If anyone knows of a rental in Ocean County, I would greatly appreciate info. I'm clean, friendly, courteous, and keep to myself - an outdoor smoker. I'm staying with friends but that can't last too long. I can afford up to $700 a month. Please e-mail me at dualitycont.2012@gmail.com if anyone knows of anything for me.


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