SOMERSET, N.J. -- Disaster officials overseeing recovery operations in response to the severe storms and flooding of mid-March announced that the registration deadline for New Jersey homeowners, renters and business owners to apply for disaster assistance has been extended until close-of-business, Thursday, July 1, 2010.
The extension was agreed upon by the State of New Jersey Office of Emergency Management and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials after reviewing the steady and consistent flow of new registrations throughout the last month. Since May 1, nearly 3,000 applications have been recorded by FEMA in the 15 designated counties.
To date, more than 11,000 residents or people doing business in Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset and Union counties have registered for some form of disaster assistance. This figure includes applicants located in Burlington, Cumberland and Ocean counties, which became eligible for federal assistance on May 8.
State and federal recovery officials said the steady volume of new applicants was not unusual for a flooding disaster. The original declaration allows for a 60-day registration period ending June 1, however with the additional 3 counties officials have extended that deadline so flood-stricken survivors could take advantage of federal recovery programs.
"In addition to providing additional consideration to the flood survivors in the counties that became eligible for assistance on May 8, our experience shows flooding damage often reveals itself over time as buildings settle,” said Federal Coordinating Officer William L Vogel. “We are still here to help and we urge all flood survivors to register for assistance now."
Homeowners, renters or business owners affected by the storms should register for assistance by calling 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. Flood survivors may also register for assistance online anytime at www.disasterassistance.gov.
The deadline to submit loan applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration has also been extended through July 1. While no one is required to take out an SBA loan, applications are a key part of the FEMA registration process. A loan denial may open up other assistance to eligible applicants.
"Many homeowners are finding that uninsured or underinsured repairs or remedies are more costly than imagined," said State Coordinating Officer Bill McDonnell. "Disaster assistance may be available after insurance claims are settled and some losses remain uncovered, so we urge all New Jersey flood survivors to contact FEMA now."
To date, FEMA has approved more than $13 million in aid to disaster households, while the SBA has approved more than $6.2 million in low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and nonprofit organizations.
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