TRENTON – More than $4.1 million in federal assistance has gone to help survivors begin the recovery from Hurricane Irene during the first week after the major declaration was issued.
“It’s just the beginning,” said William L. Vogel, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). “We’re here until everyone who is eligible for assistance is served.”
New Jersey was hit by Hurricane Irene on Aug. 27, and disaster assistance was made available on Aug. 31. Federal assistance is now available to individuals, homeowners, renters, and businesses of all sizes, as well as municipalities and nonprofit organizations that provide essential public services.
Community relations teams hit the streets immediately, distributing information on the disaster registration process, as well as the different types of assistance available. Residents with private insurance are encouraged to register for FEMA assistance, as grants may be available if they were underinsured.
“This money enables people to begin repairs, but there’s still a long road ahead for the recovery process,” said State Coordinating Officer Lt. Paul Miller, of the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management.
The recovery process begins with FEMA registration. Affected residents can either register online at www.disasterassistance.gov, or by calling 1-800- 621-FEMA (3362). Those with access or functional needs and who use a TTY, call 1-800-462-7585; or, use 711 or Video Relay Service to call 1-800-621-3362.
After registering, a home inspection is scheduled so that applicants can arrange to meet inspectors at the damaged property. The inspectors are FEMA contractors that wear FEMA contractor identification badges. Residents should ask to see the FEMA contractor ID. FEMA contractors will not ask for cash. FEMA contractors do not offer to do the necessary repair work. Disaster survivors should be aware that unscrupulous contractors often show up in the wake of a disaster, and should only contract with licensed and reliable ones.
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