By Neil Schulman
State and federal officials are praising a decision to use parts of the closed Fort Monmouth base as temporary shelter for those displaced by Hurricane Sandy. Up to 600 people could be housed there.
Last week, the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA), working with the Army, Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management, and other state and federal agencies in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. FMERA worked how to best use Fort Monmouth’s assets to assist those impacted by the storm. On Wednesday, November 7, inspectors from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and FEMA were at the former Post assessing the conditions of facilities for possible use as shelters and temporary housing. In a statement released that day, FMERA officials said many of the former base’s facilities have been dormant for several years and will require work to be inhabitable. However, following the evaluation, the groups determined that some units are usable. Governor Chris Christie announced in a press conference on Tuesday that the state had determined they were usable, and between 400 and 600 people will be moved there. New Jersey will be using a lottery system to determine who will be housed in various buildings on the former Army base, which closed last September. Numerous officials, including Congressman Frank Pallone, have praised the decision. “I am pleased to learn of the decision to open Fort Monmouth to temporarily house families displaced by Hurricane Sandy. This is a smart move that will enable us to provide housing to up to 600 New Jersey families whose homes were devastated by the Hurricane. I hope they continue to consider other potential uses for the assets at Fort Monmouth to help those impacted by this storm,” Pallone said in a statement.* * * In other FMERA news, the organization has cancelled its monthly meeting, which had been scheduled for next Monday. The next meeting will be Wed., Dec. 12, in Eatontown Borough Hall.