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Shelter to Close at Monmouth Park

The racetrack's club house has served as a shelter for a few hundred residents displaced by Superstorm Sandy.

The shelter at Monmouth Park is slated to close at the end of the week as many of those displaced by Superstorm Sandy have found temporary housing placements, the Christie administration announced Tuesday.

“At this point, most of the individuals and families who remain in emergency shelter are those who struggled financially and experienced chronic homelessness even before Hurricane Sandy,” said NJ Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez of the closing of both remaining state supported shelters.

While three weeks ago there were 7,000 people in shelters throughout the state, as of Tuesday morning only 110 New Jersey residents remained in both locations, according to a release by the NJDHS. The second shelter is the Arthur Brisbane Child Treatment Center in Wall. Oceanport Police Chief Harold Sutton said at the Nov. 15 borough council meeting that 280 evacuees were being housed at the Monmouth Park shelter that morning.

The department, he said, was "never notified about what was going on" at the shelter, which was initially housed in the tent city that had cropped up in the racetrack's parking lots to serve as a hospitality center for power workers who flooded into the county following Sandy.

Thousands of displaced people began to be bused to the tents from other shelters on Wednesday, Oct. 31 as the Nor'easter was bearing down on the storm ravaged area. The shelter moved to the racetrack's club house where shelterees received photo ID tags with bar codes, according to Oceanport's OEM Coordinator Buzzy Baldanza.

"It's been challenging," Sutton said of the calls the borough's police and first aid responded to at the temporary shelter.

Helen November 21, 2012 at 03:34 PM
My husband and I spent 7 night shifts , several for 12 hours, at the Monmouth Park shelter as local Red Cross Volunteers. After our power was restored and our downed trees were cut down in Eatontown, we decided to volunteer after reading about "Tent City". We had the opportunity to bring a little comfort to so many who lived in Ocean County, where I grew up, and Monmouth County, where I now live. It was a warm, secure setting with good food and plenty of electric outlets. I am glad to read that the shelter will remain open until the end of the week so everyone will have the opportunity to find temporary housing. After such a positive experience, we will continue as Red Cross Volunteers through the local Tinton Falls Headquarters.

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