Inside The Gigantic Controversial Tent Cities Where New Jersey Housed Sandy Refugees

nj tent city sandy

Photo: Rob Wile/Business Insider

This weekend, Reuters’ Michelle Conlin wrote a widely circulated report on shoddy conditions at a “tent city” that had been set up in Ocean Port, NJ, for Sandy refugees. The story was originally reported by Asbury Park Press reporter Stephen Edelson, who described anger and despair at the conditions inside the camp — freezing temperatures, helicopters constantly circling overhead and no Internet.

“It’s like being prison,” one man told him.

We wanted to see for ourselves what conditions had been like, so we hopped on the Seatrack ferry from Lower Manhattan to check it out.

We got there to discover the encampment had been abandoned, and later learned the state had moved its inhabitants across the street to the clubhouse at Monmouth Racetrack. 

Still, we were able to make our way inside to catch a glimpse of what the inside of the “microcity,” as New Jersey’s Department of Human Services referred to it.

We were able to interview Nicole Brossoie, the state’s assistant commissioner of public affairs, to get an update of what had happened.

Read on to hear the story of this bizarre event that defined chaos after the storm.  

We were turned away at the front entrance — media were technically not allowed to enter.

Brossoie told us that the camp was never meant for refugees, rather repair crews who'd traveled in to address damage

By Friday, there were 222 individuals living in the camp

Ironically, since moving to the clubhouse, even more refugees had arrived. Over the weekend, total displaced residents there reached 441

Still, a few remained behind in the tents. Brossoie said dealing with chronically homeless refugees would prove the toughest cases to address

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.