Rice Urges Local Residents To Register For FEMA Relief

State Sen. Ronald L. Rice

State Sen. Ronald L. Rice

NEWARK – State Senator Ronald L. Rice today urged local residents who had experienced damage to their homes and property as a result of Hurricane Sandy to reach out to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to register before the end of the year – or else risk losing out on federal assistance.

“Having spoken to FEMA crews in Newark, I’m very much concerned that many local homeowners and residents have not reached out for help,” said Rice, D-Essex. “If folks are not registered by the cut-off date of Dec. 31, they will not receive assistance from the federal government. This is a matter of rebuilding and restoring our community in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and we cannot leave any federal funding on the table.”

Rice said that FEMA workers have been going door to door in Newark to give homeowners and tenants information about registering with the agency. However the city’s high population density is working against the crews on the ground, and officials worry that they will not get to everyone before the deadline passes.

“Newark’s population density is hurting us right now,” said Rice. “The city is too big, too congested, too over-populated and too damaged to reach everyone by the deadline, and there are some instances in which FEMA workers do get to the door, but are turned away by local residents who don’t realize that FEMA is here to help. If we can get folks to contact FEMA directly without necessarily receiving that door-to-door contact, we can at least start the process and hopefully put them on a path to receiving federal assistance.”

Rice said that there is a possibility that the federal government may extend the deadline to register beyond Dec. 31, but at this moment, Newark residents should not count on an extended timeframe in which to register with FEMA.

“I need help in reaching Newark’s residents and getting them in touch with FEMA,” said Rice. “If you have been affected by Hurricane Sandy, or if you know of someone who has, please contact your local, county and State elected leaders, clergy members, or contact FEMA directly and give them your information. Don’t wait for your insurance, because time is of the essence. We can repair the damage to Newark caused by the storm, but only if we make use of the resources available to us.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency may be reached at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

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