Community steps up for more than 100 NJ seniors homeless after Ida's historic flooding

ENGLEWOOD, New Jersey (WABC) -- The remnants of Hurricane Ida caused historic flooding across New Jersey and displaced more than 100 senior citizens at a building in Bergen County.

Now, an effort is underway to help those residents get the food and supplies they need as they get back on their feet.

"It was hard to bring my husband here, and now he dies," displaced resident Crystal Wilson said.

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Dozens held a rally in Queens Tuesday to demand New York City offer more resources for them to recover from the damage caused by Ida's remnants.


While Ida's floodwater toppled cars, crushed roofs, and buried buildings under mud in Englewood, 90-year-old Johnny Lee Wilson was one of the more than 150 seniors being evacuated out of their building on West Street.

"He died over at Holy Name Hospital last Thursday, and we buried him Monday," Crystal Wilson said.

She and dozens of others are now homeless and are being put up at area hotels indefinitely.

Their lives have been turned upside down, but at last hot meals are delivered daily.

"We did an assessment with all the local seniors who were displaced, and food was the number on primary concern that every senior, every single senior mentioned, was food," said Liz Corsini, with the Bergen Family Center.

The Bergen Family Center is part of the Food Security Task Force, made up of non profits, churches, local restaurants, and volunteers that banded together at the beginning of the pandemic to make and deliver 2,000 meals a week.

"We had a 71% increase in food insecurity in Bergen County," Bergen County Commissioner Tracy Zur said. "Which meant that we had 130,000 of our neighbors, one in six children, it's estimated, who didn't know where their next meal was coming from. And now a hurricane on top of that?"

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FEMA representatives were on hand for Paterson residents who suffered property damage and loss from Hurricane Ida.


Zur said Ida was the knockout in a 1-2 punch, and throughout New Jersey, food pantries were stretched thin. Some lost their entire inventory to Ida.

Donations ofdiapers, personal hygiene productsand household supplies are needed, along with any groceries to make ahealthy meals like fresh produce, milk and protein.

To find out how to help, visit Ridgewood Feed the Front Lines and the Bergen Family Center.

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