Start the recovery process: register for assistance

FREEHOLD, NJ – Monmouth County residents whose properties sustained damage as a result of the severe storms and flooding that began on March 12 are urged to register for disaster assistance as soon as possible. Assistance is available to businesses as well.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) established a Disaster Recovery Center at the Monmouth County Park System’s Henry Hudson Trail Activity Center, 945 Route 36, Leonardo. The office will open tomorrow to begin processing claims.

“These storms have caused significant damage throughout Monmouth County, but particularly along the Bayshore and our ocean beaches,” Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry said. “Assistance can include grants for temporary housing, home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.”

Burry is working with local, state and federal officials to find on a permanent solution to the flooding problem in the Bayshore region, which was hit hard by these March storms. A plan is being developed to repair the dune system with sand dredged from nearby federal channels.

“We need a proactive plan rather than a reactive one that does not fully protect vulnerable areas,” Burry said.

In addition to Monmouth County, federal funding has been made available to people and businesses in Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Gloucester, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, and Union counties.

FEMA said residents and business owners who sustained losses can register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or for the speech or hearing impaired TTY 1-800-462-7585, or online anytime at www.disasterassistance.gov. These toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, until further notice.

“Do it now. Get into the FEMA system,” State Coordinating Officer Lt. Bill McDonnell said. “We urge affected residents to go online or make that call, to make that first step towards recovery.”

Individuals and business owners should register even if they have flood insurance. Some losses may not be covered by insurance, but federal grants may cover those expenses.

Registering with FEMA is required for assistance, even if the person has registered with another disaster relief organization such as the American Red Cross, local officials or churches. Applicants will need to provide:

  • Social Security number
  • Address of the damaged home or apartment
  • Description of the damage
  • Information about insurance coverage
  • A current contact telephone number
  • An address where you can get mail
  • Bank account and routing numbers if they want direct deposit of any financial assistance

“Many of our residents and business owners have had a tough time dealing with these storms,” said Freeholder John P. Curley, liaison to the county Office of Emergency Management. “I urge them to register for assistance right away.”

Besides Monmouth, FEMA will open Disaster Recovery centers in Bergen, Gloucester and Union counties tomorrow, supplementing the three Disaster Recovery Centers that opened in Atlantic, Morris and Somerset counties on April 9 and the three that opened in Middlesex, Essex and Passaic counties on April 12.

Each Disaster Recovery Center is staffed with FEMA, U.S. Small Business Administration and state agency disaster recovery specialists who are ready to help survivors through the recovery process.

Residents affected by the flooding are encouraged to register with FEMA before visiting a center.

At the Disaster Recovery Center, visitors can:

  • Receive information about different types of state and federal disaster assistance.
  • Get help completing low-interest loan applications from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for homeowners, renters and business owners.
  • Inquire about the status of applications for federal assistance.
  • May receive referrals to voluntary organizations to help with immediate unmet needs.
  • Learn cost-effective mitigation measures to reduce the impact of future disaster losses.

Until further notice, daily hours at the Disaster Recovery Center are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The centers will be closed on Sundays.