NJOP to commemorate Sandy Anniversary with rally and camp out in Trenton
New Jersey Organizing Project will commemorate the three year anniversary of Super storm Sandy with a Statehouse rally and a three-day camp out at the War Memorial in Trenton.
Joe Mangino, a founding member of NJOP and a storm survivor from Stafford Township's Beach Haven West, understands the frustrations many are still experiencing.
"The tourist areas look great, houses seem to be rebuilt, but you have to look a little bit deeper, " said Mangino.
NJOP plans to us the nearly week-long event to show the country what's happening in New Jersey while pushing state lawmakers for real solutions to bring Sandy-impacted families home, according to Mangino.
"They're struggling to get by because it's been such a long journey that they are at their wits' end," Mangino said.
Like many storm victims, Mangino was displaced for about six months, struggled through the state's Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) program to have his home raised.
"Here we are almost a year later, and my project isn't done, a project that should have taken less than 90 days," said Mangino.
The two biggest issues Sandy-impacted families are currently facing are finding qualified contractors and avoiding foreclosure.
"How depressing is that, that you fight for three years to get into your home only to lose it in foreclosure because you can't afford to stay there," he said.
Mangino pointed out a shortage of qualified contractors in the state's RREM program is overburdening them, and he believes that is what has been leading to an increase in contractor fraud cases that have recently come to light.
NJOP wants to see lawmakers act on a contractor accountability measure that has teeth and a proposal to prevent Sandy victims from going into foreclosure, according to Mangino, but he is doubtful that will happen before the upcoming elections. "It's quite unfortunate," he added.
Mangino said NJOP anticipates hundreds to participate in the commemoration, including non-profit groups and organizations such as Stop FEMA Now and the Ortley Beach Taxpayers Association, to name a few.
The three-year commemoration of Sandy will kick off on Tuesday, October 27, with displaced families setting up camp at the World War II Memorial Park, 100 West State Street, Trenton. The three-day camp out will lead up to a demonstration at the Statehouse on Friday, October 30.
Complete details can be found at http://finishthejobnj.org.