Sandy victims seek shelter at Monmouth Park Racetrack

November 12, 2012 3:55:16 PM PST
The racetrack at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey has been a tent city for all the utility workers from out of the area who came here to help with post-Sandy power restoration.

But now, some of the folks who still can't go home again have set up shop there.

Over the weekend, state officials moved them across the street to the Grandstand area of the racetrack.

"The Red Cross has been absolutely wonderful. It's just not familiar ground, I don't know how else to explain it," Lorraine Miller of Seaside Heights said.

275 people are living at the Monmouth Park Grandstand.

Temporary shower and laundry facilities have gone up.

After two weeks of shelters, Michael DaSilva of Toms River hopes for a a space to call his own.

"Four walls around you, a little more privacy," DaSilva said.

Besides blankets and food, mental health counseling is available from the Red Cross to help those coming to grips with their new reality.

"They didn't anticipate that one day that they're living in their home and the next day they're in a shelter of last resort where they need everything because everything they owned has now been washed away," Laura Steinmetz of the Red Cross South Jersey said.

Frustrations abound as many at the shelter have not been able to return to storm damaged homes to see if anything remains.

An effort today to take a bus from a Toms River mall to travel to Seaside Heights was dashed.

"We got to the mall and the Seaside cops said no we can't go. No buses," Mario Fiorello of Seaside Heights said.

"How could people working inside this facility with authority not be on the same page here," Dorothy Alston of Seaside Heights said.

Tom and Karen Fuller along with their ten children remain upbeat and hopeful.

"The kids love it. It's like a day camp for them. It gets stressful sometimes [for me,]" Tom said.

"Not knowing where we're going next [is most difficult," Karen said.

The Fullers are hoping to be out of a shelter by Thanksgiving, but are preparing just in case.


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