Fort Monmouth could become a temporary home for families displaced by Hurricane Sandy in the near future, Eatontown Mayor Gerald Tarantolo said during a council meeting on Thursday night.
"A significant effort will be made to open up Fort Monmouth with a significant amount of housing that will be made available if this all comes to fruition," Mayor Tarantolo said. "Somewhere in the area of 400-500 families could be accommodated."
Tarantolo said several areas in the main post section of Fort Monmouth have been identified as possible housing areas that "could probably be up to speed very shortly through the funds that will be provided by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)."
The housing units would likely need several repairs in order to be made hospitable for the victims, as the many buildings have been vacant for several years and are not hooked up to utilities.
He said the county and the state will be part of that effort to make this housing available.
"This is just an interim arrangement and the logistics of doing something like this is of an order of magnitude," Tarantolo said. "Nevertheless, because of the severity of the event, we've got to take these steps to accommodate those people that were devastated by the storm."
Tarantolo said the plan is not yet fully formed, but that he has an idea of which buildings will be used as housing. He said he did not want to share the locations until they are finalized.
He said he will provide an update once more information becomes available
"I'm very pleased that through my contacts with FEMA that they will follow through with FMERA (Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority) and the governor's office to make these arrangements, and it looks like we're in the process now of accomplishing that and I feel very good about that," Tarantolo said.
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) issued the following statement in response to the news that inspectors from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and the Federal Emergency Management Agency were at Fort Monmouth on Nov. 8 assessing the conditions of facilities for possible use as shelters and temporary housing"
"I am very encouraged to know everyone is working together to assess the resources at Fort Monmouth that might be able to help us house our displaced residents. We will continue to push for quick answers but the level of cooperation amongst the agencies involved is encouraging. The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are taking all the right steps to vet out this option. The Monmouth County Prosecutor, Christopher J. Gramiccioni, has also been a key part of this process and I appreciate his active involvement. On behalf of my constituents, I am grateful for the effort."