Elizabeth residents displaced by Ida feel left down by city; demand secretary of HUD meet with them

Residents of an Elizabeth apartment complex that were displaced by flooding from Ida are demanding action.

News 12 Staff

Oct 1, 2021, 2:25 AM

Updated 927 days ago


Residents of an Elizabeth apartment complex that were displaced by flooding from Ida are demanding action from the city, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the complex’s managing company.
The former tenants of the Oakwood Plaza apartments have been displaced for four weeks. Many are living in hotels. On Thursday, they aired their grievances and demanded that the Secretary of HUD come to Elizabeth and agree to meet with them in person.
“We’re outraged. All of us, we are outraged,” says Sherrise Simmons, president of the Tenants’ Rights Organization.
Simmons started the organization to serve as a voice for those who were displaced.
“We need the HUD secretary, Marcia Fudge, down here. We’re demanding that,” she says.
Tenants also want HUD to evaluate the treatment and operation of CIS Management, the company that runs Oakwood Plaza. They also want HUD to issue Section 8 vouchers to all displaced residents who want it.
“I signed the paperwork so they can release me, so that I can have assistance in moving. The city of Elizabeth told me that I cannot move until CIS releases my paperwork,” says former tenant Carole Hunter.
Hunter has been living in a hotel with her three daughters since the flood. She is being asked to pay rent for September and October, for an apartment she no longer lives in.
“They said that you still need to pay rent and I don’t understand how that is when I signed my lease over,” she says.
News 12 New Jersey reached out to the Elizabeth mayor’s office and CIS management but was directed to voicemail.
The residents say that they feel let down by the city.
“Where were they when we needed them the most?” asks resident Victoria Hunt.
Another complaint by some residents is that they are being relocated to housing that is far from where they work and where their children go to school.

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