SOMERSET, N.J. -- The modern communication age provides many high-tech ways to share information, including television, radio, newspapers, Internet, mobile applications wireless networks and cell phones. But perhaps the most effective way to "get the word out" is still the original one: through personal contact.
That’s why Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), State of New Jersey Office of Emergency Management and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) officials are asking the public to help them spread a very important message to their neighbors and fellow flood survivors: "Register for Disaster Assistance Today!"
"With the deadline to register for disaster assistance just a few weeks away on June 1, we need the public’s help to ensure that everyone is aware that assistance is available,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer William L. Vogel. “If you have already registered for disaster assistance with FEMA, you may know someone, a family member or a neighbor who has not applied for help. Please take a few moments to call or knock on your neighbors' doors to see if they have applied with FEMA and the SBA."
"Disasters tend to bring out the best in people, so we're confident the public will help speed the recovery by talking to their neighbors and letting them know that they may be eligible to receive federal help," said State Coordinating Officer Lt. Bill McDonnell.
The severe storms and flooding of mid-March affected many New Jersey neighborhoods. A presidential declaration on April 2 opened the door for federal funds to assist homeowners, renters and business owners in recovery.
FEMA Housing Assistance grants may cover rental assistance, home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance. The objective is to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional. Other Needs Assistance grants may be available to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable-aid programs.
The SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations for losses not fully covered by insurance. The SBA may lend up to $200,000 to repair or replace homes and up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. Also, up to $2 million may be available for businesses for their uncompensated disaster losses.
REGISTER FOR ASSISTANCE
To register for FEMA and/or SBA assistance, residents should call FEMA’s toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY/TDD 1-800-462-7585 for the speech and hearing impaired (for relay service, call 711 or 1-800-852-7897) between 7 a.m. and 1 a.m., seven days a week. Multi-lingual operators are available to answer calls during this time. Residents may also register online anytime at www.disasterassistance.gov.
SBA questions can be answered by calling the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or TTY/TTD 1-800-877-8339 for the speech or hearing impaired Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EDT. Help is also available by sending an email to email@example.com or online at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.
Flood survivors can also receive assistance at the Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) operating in most federally declared counties. Residents can get the location of the DRC closest to their home or business when they register by phone.
The deadline to register for federal assistance is June 1, 2010.
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