May 18th, 2007 15:58 EST
Don't Disqualify Yourself by Not Registering
PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Local, state and federal officials strongly urge New Jersey homeowners, renters and business owners who suffered damages as a result of the April nor'easter storm to register with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
"Rumors and misunderstandings that accompany disasters may cause some affected residents to disqualify themselves from much-needed help," said Lt. George Georgeles, state coordinating officer for disaster recovery.
Recovery officials voiced concern that unreliable word-of-mouth information in distressed neighborhoods and communities may deter eligible individuals and households from seeking assistance from the state and FEMA.
"The last thing you need in a disaster is misinformation," said Peter Martinasco, federal coordinating officer. "And the best way to avoid that problem is to call FEMA and find out what disaster assistance is available to you."
Homeowners, renters and business owners who suffered damage and/or financial loss from the April storm and who are located in one of the 12 New Jersey counties designated for federal individual assistance are strongly urged to register online at www.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing or speech impaired. Both lines are operating from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
The following counties are eligible for individual disaster assistance: Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset and Union.
Residents also may visit a local Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) to speak with representatives from the state, FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to discuss the types of assistance available. Residents are urged to apply online or by phone before visiting a DRC.
FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
FEMA and NJOEM work together to coordinate the federal and state governments' roles in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against; call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585