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New Jersey Racetrack Hosts Displaced Residents


Officials in New Jersey don't have figures yet on how many residents have been left homeless by Sandy. But last night, 350 of them slept inside Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport; among them, Stephanie Faycik. On the night of the hurricane, her home, two and a half blocks from the ocean, was flooded with waist-deep water.

STEPHANIE FAYCIK: We just tried to stay up and out of the water as much as we could. Up on the furniture, we're sitting up on the top of the furniture.

SYDELL: Faycik, her husband, son, and mother were rescued from the Keansburg home by police the following morning. Over the last two weeks, Faycik and her family have been in four different shelters. She says one of them, run by Monmouth County officials, decided to close up on the night the state was hit by a nor'easter snow storm.

FAYCIK: When they came to tell us that we were going to be moved, it was all very last minute and nobody really knew what was going on, where we were going.

SYDELL: Where they were going turned out to be a tent city set up for emergency workers that had no heat.

FAYCIK: The first night, because of the snow, was awful.


FAYCIK: But the next day, it got it got warmer and it was little bit easier to tolerate the cold and stuff.

SYDELL: Yesterday, Faycik and her family were moved here to the indoor part of a racetrack. They sleep in a large hall with everyone else on cots. She says the Red Cross has made this bearable.

FAYCIK: Helping us with clothes, making sure that we're warm, we have enough blankets. We have enough food.

SYDELL: The Red Cross is one of many organizations that are here trying to make a racetrack feel like home. Mark Tinsman, is with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.

MARK TINSMAN: We can begin to have services such as laundry service, such as the shower facilities that have been brought in here, to make sure people have access to - get a shower every day if they want to do that.

SYDELL: And they can bet on the races too. There is still off-track betting going on in part of the complex. Even if no one wins enough for a new house, FEMA will help pay for a hotel or a rental. Unfortunately, both are in short supply. Stephanie Faycik wants to take her family someplace away from the ocean, even though she grew up on the Jersey Shore.

FAYCIK: And I have never seen water do that before and it scared the hell out of me. I won't do it again.

SYDELL: For now, like thousands of others who lived along the shore, Faycik can't return to what's left of her home until government officials declare it safe.

Laura Sydell, NPR News.



You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Laura Sydell fell in love with the intimate storytelling qualities of radio, which combined her passion for theatre and writing with her addiction to news. Over her career she has covered politics, arts, media, religion, and entrepreneurship. Currently Sydell is the Digital Culture Correspondent for NPR's All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and NPR.org.

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