Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders urges residents and business owners who need help recovering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy to register with FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA has already received 16,500 applications from Union County residents.
“FEMA is here to help, and it just takes a phone call to get started and find out what kinds of assistance you may be eligible for,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “Please don’t hesitate to call FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA, register online at disasterassistance.gov, or better yet, visit the nearest FEMA Disaster Recovery Center where you can meet with a FEMA representative in person.”
Any FEMA center may be used by any resident of New Jersey. They are all open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days a week. In Union County, FEMA expects to open at least three centers. One is already up and running at 100 South Springfield Avenue in Springfield, at the Chisholm Community Center.
To find the one closest to you call FEMA or use the Disaster Recovery Center locator at fema.gov.
The types of financial assistance offered by FEMA to eligible residents include:
• Temporary rental help or a stipend for hotel lodging.
• Repairs or replacement for a home or business damaged by the storm (for damage not covered by existing insurance; property owners should also contact their insurance company).
• Help with medical, dental or funeral expenses.
• Help with mental health counseling.
One important form of help that FEMA can offer is disaster unemployment assistance. This program is designed for persons who have lost their jobs due to the storm, but who are not eligible to receive conventional unemployment insurance payments.
In addition, FEMA can help connect eligible residents with legal services, for example in settling landlord-tenant issues that may arise as a result of storm damage.
A complete description of FEMA assistance programs for individuals and households is available for download at the “Help After a Disaster” page at fema.gov.
FEMA representatives can also help business owners get in touch with the Small Business Administration to find out about their eligibility for low-interest disaster loans.
Another resource for local businesses is the Union County Economic Development Corporation. This agency has arranged to expedite loan applications of up to $15,000 to meet post-storm recovery needs for small businesses. For additional information, call 908-527-1166.
Mirabella also reminded Union County residents that if they have immediate, short-term needs for shelter, food or medical assistance, their first call should be to a local human services agency or volunteer organization such as the Red Cross or Salvation Army.
“Above all, we want Union County residents to be safe and warm during this crisis,” said Mirabella.
For information on additional Union County resources, seniors age 60 and older can call the Union County Division on Aging at 1-888-280-8226.