Interactive Map: Assessing Damage from Superstorm Sandy

The total number of homes and rental units damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Click on a municipality to see details on damages to homes and businesses.

Source: NJ Department of Community Affairs

The first town-by-town data about damage to homes and businesses from Superstorm Sandy show patterns of devastation that are not surprising but still staggering.

Communities in the coastal counties of Ocean and Monmouth were hardest hit, but inland residents of Little Ferry and Moonachie in Bergen County suffered losses that were nearly as large.

By far, the largest number of housing units damaged was in sprawling Toms River, which includes Ortley Beach – an area so hard-hit that residents were not allowed back home for more than three months after the late October storm. More than 8,800 residences, nearly 90 percent of those individual houses, were damaged, 1,000 severely, according to data provided by the state Department of Community Affairs. Nearly 5,100 businesses were affected, as well. In adjacent Seaside Heights, whose roller coaster was washed into the ocean and became an iconic image of the storm, almost 60 percent of residences – 1,929 – were damaged, as were more than 200 businesses, many of them along the borough’s famous boardwalk.

But, proportionally, two Monmouth County communities took the biggest hits. In Sea Bright, where sand piles lining the main streets resembled tan snow drifts after cleanup trucks cleared the way after the storm, 1,028 residences were damaged, which represents more than 9 of every 10 dwelling units. More than 100 businesses on the narrow barrier island were impacted, too. Up Route 36, some 1,700 residences – 80 percent of all dwellings – and 142 businesses were damaged in two-square mile Union Beach.

Up in Bergen County, at the confluence of the Hackensack River and Overpeck Creek, the water that inundated Little Ferry and Moonachie brought significant damage. Almost 6 in 10 dwellings – 378 – and 378 businesses in Moonachie were affected, as were 1,525 residences and 488 businesses in Little Ferry.

Statewide, nearly 87,000 housing units were damaged, about 12,500 of those either sustaining major damage or being destroyed. At least 1,000 residences were damaged in 24 municipalities in seven counties. Nearly 400,000 businesses were impacted, as well.

On Tuesday, the DCA put out its action plan for spending billions of dollars in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds from the federal government. The proposal is New Jersey’s blueprint for spending an initial $1.8 billion to help more than 20,000 home owners, 5,000 renters and 10,000 businesses, as well as local governments. It must be approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In total, HUD is providing $5.4 billion in block grants to states hit by Sandy in this first round of distribution. In total, the federal government has appropriated $16 billion in block grants.

Lisa Ryan, a DCA spokeswoman, said the grants “are to be used to address unmet disaster recovery needs,” meaning those that have not gotten other public or private funding, including from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Small Business Administration or individual insurance.

Kevin Walsh, associate director of the Fair Share Housing Center, complained that the state is not earmarking enough money for renters, saying that of the lowest income people hurt by Sandy, 80 percent are renters.

“Fewer than one out of every 20 renters who registered with EMA would be helped through the state’s plan,” he said. “We have serious concerns about whether this plan fairly meets the needs of everyone impacted by Sandy.”

He cited a report released last week by Enterprise Community Partners that found two-thirds of renters impacted by Sandy earn less than $30,000 a year.

That report was based on FEMA Housing Assistance Data for Sandy, which provides monetary damage estimates and income breakdowns by ZIP code. It shows the largest average damage assessment – more than $37,000 – in the 08738 ZIP code, which encompasses the barrier island borough of Mantoloking, and Normandy Beach, which is part of Brick Township. To see damage and income data based on ZIP code, click here.

To see data for the number of properties damaged in a municipality, click on the map above.

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