Manville family displaced by Ida's floods may have to pay $3K hotel bill

Eric Vaughn home got up to 5 feet of water and destroyed everything. With nowhere left to turn, he and his family of five moved to a FEMA-approved hotel.

News 12 Staff

Sep 25, 2021, 9:16 PM

Updated 930 days ago


A Manville family displaced in the aftermath of Ida could be facing a hotel bill in the thousands of dollars.
Eric Vaughn's home got up to 5 feet of water and destroyed everything. With nowhere left to turn, he and his family of five and their dog moved to a FEMA-approved hotel and are awaiting for the federal government to step in.
"We just haven't been getting any help, and you'd think, from a natural disaster, we've been declared. Biden came, right? That, everything... That we were going to be put up in a hotel. It's not my fault my house got flooded," Vaughn says.
New Jersey residents impacted by Ida have spent weeks cleaning up after the tropical storm dumped several feet of water into neighborhoods and completely flooded out homes. And now these families are trying to move forward with promised aid that has yet to come.
"We need answers, you know, we are not getting any answers. The different organizations are not talking to one another they just kind of throw you a list and say 'go find help,'" Vaughn says.
Now almost four weeks later with a bill nearing $3,000, Vaughn says neither FEMA nor the Red Cross will pay the bill.
"FEMA said it hasn't been approved by the state of New Jersey yet for lodging," Vaughn explains. "I called Red Cross and Red Cross says they're not doing hotel lodging."
Somerset County along with other counties across the state have been declared eligible for federal disaster aid. But right now, some families are struggling to get answers from the organizations that are meant to help them.
"They keep bouncing me around. Some of them are getting back to me, but they're getting back to me with the same answer that I get from the people at Red Cross or the people I called," Vaughn says.
For now, Vaughn plans to pay for his family's room out of pocket, but stresses that they are running out of money.
"Right now, at this point, our immediate need is help with this hotel and we need to find temporary housing," Vaughn emphasizes.
Gov. Phil Murphy and FEMA hosted a virtual townhall Friday which answered questions on how Ida-impacted residents can apply for aid. They said they have received over 52,000 applications and they have awarded over $32 million.

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