TRENTON, N.J. -- The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management work in concert with voluntary agencies to provide the most comprehensive assistance to New Jersey residents affected by the flooding. To avoid duplication of services, federal, state, and voluntary agency assistance programs are not exclusive of each other but instead, work cooperatively to provide even stronger support for New Jersey residents.
"It appears there may be some confusion in parts of Mercer County about non-profit organization disaster assistance and federal disaster assistance," said Federal Coordinating Officer Peter Martinasco of the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "Everyone who had damage or loss as a result of the flooding should contact FEMA and apply for federal disaster assistance, regardless of whether or not they have received assistance from a voluntary agency. Assistance from a voluntary agency does not disqualify you from seeking federal assistance."
When an individual registers for assistance through the FEMA Helpline, that person is automatically connected to an array of local and national non-profit agency support that is available to assess and fill an individual's unmet needs. Registering for assistance, either with the FEMA Helpline or on the FEMA website, is the quickest an easiest way to reach out for both federal and non-profit resources to help quickly and thoroughly after a disaster.
Individuals and communities affected by the flooding should call the toll-free application line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 1-800-462-7585. All those affected are encouraged to apply immediately, the deadline to apply for FEMA assistance is September 11. People may also register for assistance and find answers to their questions by visiting the user-friendly FEMA website: www.fema.gov.
With the approaching application deadline, the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is also urging victims that received a loan application packet to complete and return their applications. Anyone with questions about SBA assistance should contact the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. EDT. Disaster victims are reminded that to be considered for federal disaster assistance, including SBA's disaster loans, they must register with FEMA first.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.