Many Hoboken basement renters without insurance

November 16, 2012 7:56:31 PM PST
Basic renter's insurance does not cover damage from flooding, so for so many living in basement apartments in Hoboken, they're out of luck.

Many lost everything in the storm and insurance won't cover it and they have nowhere to go.

"I had a poster up here. A Muhammed Ali picture," said Mike Minter, a Hoboken resident, "I pretty much lost everything. I was able to get the clothes out that I could save, and take it to the dry cleaner. I had a $600 dry-cleaning bill."

Mike Minter's basement apartment in Hoboken filled up with more than five feet of water during the storm.

It's since been gutted revealing a skeleton of crumbling brick and decades-old wood.

Repairs will be made, but in the meantime Minter is out of a place to live and all of his things.

"I have renter's insurance, but it's pretty clear from the policy that it specifically excludes flood coverage," Minter said.

Minter says he applied for federal assistance.

"They said we should get something out of it, I don't know what that means. They're going to send me paperwork. Something about a loan that's not really a loan, it's a grant, even though it's through a small business loan," Minter said.

Minter is one of thousands of renters in Hoboken who are in the same desperate spot.

Renter's insurance will cover personal property loss from a fire or a burglary but not a flood.

"I have to replace the hot water heater and the furnace, so it's couple thousand dollars," said Adam Hecht, a Hoboken resident.

Adam Hecht just got done talking to his plumber.

"They have to take an extra foot off because of the mold damage," Hecht said.

He's a first-time homeowner who bought his third floor condo three months ago, but now he has no heat because flood waters destroyed everything in the basement.

"My apartment's freezing when I got in. I had to get a space heater," Hecht said.

But Hecht has flood insurance, so he'll get reimbursed.

He's required to buy it because he lives in a flood zone.

"I was covered for this one luckily," Hecht said.

Saturday from 9 to 4, Hoboken is holding a city-wide cleanup.

Approximately 100 Greek students from the Stevens Institute of Technology will volunteer in the effort, and all residents and businesses are also invited to take part to help clean up their block.

The City is accepting donations of the following cleaning supplies, which can be left in the bins at the Hoboken Parking Utility (basement of City Hall, 94 Washington Street):

- Masks
- Work Gloves
- Industrial Garbage Bags
- Eyewear
- Brooms
- Industrial Dust Pans
- Shovels

Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own supplies, however these will be provided to those who do not have their own. There will be three meeting locations for volunteers:

- Mama Johnson Field (401 Jackson St)
- Church Square Park gazebo (401 Willow Ave)
- Columbus Park gazebo (Clinton St between 9th St and 10th St).

Volunteers will be dispatched to five zones to clear the streets and sidewalks of debris. In addition to the organized volunteer effort, all residents and businesses are asked to clean the sidewalks and curb areas near their properties.

All contractors are reminded that they must use a container to dispose of debris. The City is temporarily waiving the permit fee for containers. As of Monday, November 19, the City will resume the regular garbage and recycling pickup schedule (see: Metal furniture, appliances, and electronics (computers, televisions, monitors) can be placed curbside on Thursdays after 9pm. Non-metal furniture, mattresses, etc can be placed curbside on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday after 9pm. As always, hazardous items such as paint, varnish, turpentine, pesticide, etc should not be disposed of at the curb.

Environmental Concerns Community Meeting For residents who experienced environmental contamination in their homes, particularly by oil, the City will hold a community meeting on Monday, November 19 at 7pm at the Connors School (201 Monroe St). Residents who would like an air quality test in their homes by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection may call 201-420-2041 (M-F, 9am-4pm).

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