(Corrects number of households who received rental assistance
in paragraph 4)
By Victoria Cavaliere
NEW YORK, April 30 Rent will be charged starting
Thursday to more than 1,300 families displaced from their East
Coast homes by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012 and sheltered
since then in apartments and bungalows largely paid for by the
The families have exhausted the rental benefit, which runs
for 18 months after a natural disaster, and now must either move
or take over rent payments beginning May 1, the Federal
Emergency Management Agency said.
Sandy struck on Oct. 29, 2012, killing more than 100 people
and causing more than $60 billion in damage, mostly in New York
and New Jersey. Some residents are still struggling to rebuild
damaged property, settle insurance claims or secure grants to
help repair their homes.
The expiration of benefits affects 589 households in New
York state, 711 in New Jersey, 22 in Connecticut and 2 in
Maryland. Roughly 140,000 households received rental assistance
at some point after the storm, FEMA said.
"FEMA's housing program is provided on a temporary basis
following a major disaster until longer-term housing can be
secured," a FEMA spokesman told Reuters.
Harry Sheridan, 42, said Sandy flooding destroyed his home
in the borough of Keansburg on the New Jersey shore but
reconstruction began only this month. He and his family of five
have been living in an apartment subsidized by FEMA at Fort
Monmouth, a former Army installation, and will have to start
paying $1,865 in monthly rent beginning Thursday.
"We are right there at the end. But it's like FEMA doesn't
care," Sheridan said.
"Now we have to pay the mortgage on the house and the rent,
and the rent is more than our mortgage," he said.
Forty-four families in temporary homes in New Jersey,
including 25 families at Fort Monmouth, were given a four-month
extension to remain in the units but must start paying rent this
In the past few days, Sheridan has seen his neighbors at
Fort Monmouth packing cars and moving trucks, he said.
"I guess they are just going wherever they can go. There's
just no way we are going to be able to pay all this and still be
able to survive," he said.
(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Barbara Goldberg
and Mohammad Zargham)