BELMAR, N.J. — Belmar residents and businesses have rallied together to raise enough money bring home the last residents displaced by Superstorm Sandy, the town's mayor announced Monday.
Through private donations and fundraising events, over $240,000 was collected and spent on rebuilding two homes. The Keefe and Sperber families were overjoyed to be back.
“It’s amazing to be home. It’s amazing to say I’m going home,” said Shaun Keefe, 11, who said his favorite part of being home is having his own room after three years of living with his uncle, 30 minutes away.
“Words enough could never express our thankfulness. To everyone involved, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” said Shaun’s mom, Teresa Keefe.
The Keefe and Sperber families also thanked Senator Bob Menendez and Senator Cory Booker for pushing FEMA to re-open flood insurance claims.
“We need to work together to get everyone back home and make sure they can afford to stay there,” said Krista Sperber.
Many still are still unable to celebrate. Families struggling to rebuild plan to protest in Trenton for four days straight this week, which marks three years since Sandy.
“It shouldn’t have taken this long, nor should the path have been this difficult,” said Senator Menendez, “But the success illustrates the incredible resiliency of our Sandy survivors who wouldn’t give up no matter how dark things appeared on the morning of October 30th, 2012.”
Menendez and Booker pledged their support to survivors.
Some in Belmar point to how homes do still sit empty. Homeowners who have second homes or summer homes in the shore town do not benefit from the same programs as those who were rendered homeless after the storm.
“My belief is there is no shock clock on justice,” said Sen. Menendez. “If you believe you were low-balled by your flood insurance company and still have not entered into the review process, I urge you to contact my office so that we can fight and help you get what you deserve.”