Dozens left homeless after NJ apartment complex deemed unsafe due to Ida

Residents of the Ron Jolyn Apartments in West Orange were notified on Monday that they had to vacate their apartments right away as the rocky slope behind their complex has been deemed unsafe, the result of a rock slide caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida. 

"Basically, the whole front of the mountain, there's a huge gap that you can't see unless you're up top, is about to fall. It could fall on a moment's notice. It's certainly unlikely to survive another major storm or maybe even the winter," said Robert Parisi, the Mayor of West Orange.

But finding a new place to live on short notice isn't so easy for residents of the apartment complex.

"Many of us are retired," one resident told FOX 5 NY. "We're on limited income. I mean, we can't find affordable housing in this area in Essex County."

A lawyer for the owner of the apartments told FOX 5 NY that residents were given back their October rent, an additional $1,250 plus their security deposit from when they first moved in.

"I mean, we have expenses right now," said Joanne Lowe, who moved into the complex 25 years ago. "We have moving expenses, storage expenses. We don't know what we're gonna do."

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According to their lawyer, the owners have been advised to demolish the building, though no date has been set.

The 45 displaced families are being temporarily housed at two nearby hotels, which Parisi says the town is paying for to give them as much help as it can. However, the residents will have to start looking for places to stay eventually.

FEMA has been brought in to help residents who qualify for assistance. Residents are also considering contacting an attorney as they explore all of their options.