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Residents Allowed To Briefly Return To Long Beach Island

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By Robin Rieger

STAFFORD TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) — After a long wait, Long Beach Island will be open to homeowners on Monday from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. Most residents will not be allowed to stay because their homes are either damaged or don’t have working utilities. No one will be permitted access after 12 p.m.

Susan Duncan of Brant Beach says she will head in at 9 a.m. She left the Home Depot in Stafford Township on Sunday night with a shopping cart full of cleaning supplies and a heart full of hope. She’s anxious to survey the damage from Hurricane Sandy to the home she’s lived in for 27 years. The island was devastated by the storm. Duncan is hoping her home and real estate business won’t be.

“I’m thinking it’s going to be a shock,” she says, “but I’m determined to rebuild.”

Duncan believes there was at least 18 inches of water inside.

“I think I’ve lost all the kitchen appliances and the beds,” she says.

Duncan knows others have lost everything. Many of them from Long Beach Island, Seaside Heights and even mainland bay front communities are relying on the kindness of people like Janice Dryburgh of King of Kings Church in Stafford Township. That is where many Ocean County evacuees were going for bags of food, clothing for men, women and children, even showers.

“People need to see there is hope, people care for them,” Dryburgh says. “There are provisions there, it’s just going to take time.”

Dryburgh says volunteers are coming from all over the country to assist those in need.

“The main thing is to find housing for these people,” she says.

Stafford Township Mayor John Spodofora says some summer home owners have stepped forward.

“They’re willing to donate their homes for people to stay in while people get back on their feet,” the mayor says.

He says half of the Beach Haven West residents on the mainland are displaced.

Officials are in the process in all communities affected by Sandy of trying to determine if some damaged homes can’t be repaired. In Stafford Township, the mayor says, so far, 22 are condemned.

According to the Long Beach Island Emergency Operations Center, unsafe conditions in Holgate and North Beach will prevent those homeowners from returning.

There will be no access at the Route 72 checkpoint after 12 p.m.

If you’d like to offer assistance or for more information, click here.

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