Category Archives: disaster assistance

FEMA Aid Deadline for Local Governments Looming

Long Branch, N.J. – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. Friday urged towns and local governments, to submit their application for FEMA Public Assistance if they haven’t already done so. Certain private nonprofit organizations may also receive assistance. The deadline for towns to submit an application for assistance is Friday, September 30, 2011.

“The money is ready and available for towns to put to work on repairs for damage caused by the hurricane, it would be a shame for this assistance to go unused because someone didn’t know about it,” said Pallone.

Projects eligible for assistance may fall under one of the following categories and include debris removal, emergency protective measures, road systems and bridges, water control facilities, public building and utilities and parks.

Last week, FEMA conducted a round of briefings across the state which informed prospective applicants of available assistance and eligibility requirements for obtaining Federal assistance as a result of damage from Hurricane Irene. Pallone’s staff was also present at some of the briefings to assist constituents.

In the days since Hurricane Irene caused significant damage, FEMA has opened 21 disaster recovery centers, provided $76,852,437 in housing assistance and completed 35,416 out of 41,354 house inspection requests.

Individuals who seek federal assistance can register with FEMA through one of the following, going to http://www.disasterassistance.gov, to m.fema.gov or calling FEMA toll-free, 800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with access or functional needs and who use a TTY may call 800-462-7585 or use 711 or Video Relay Service to call 800-621-3362. Telephone lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET; multilingual operators are available.

Federal assistance became available after the president issued a major disaster declaration on Aug. 31. Assistance is provided for eligible damage from the Hurricane Irene and related flooding, Aug. 27 through Sept. 5, 2011.

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Filed under Congressman Frank Pallone, deadline, disaster assistance, FEMA, Hurricane Irene

Senate Republicans block FEMA disaster relief funds

Hold on, don’t spend that disaster aid money just yet, Republicans in the US Senate have blocked aid to Hurricane Irene victims.

I wonder what Governor Christie and fellow NJ Republicans have to say about this?

Raw Story
Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

A package of disaster relief funding worth $7 billion was blocked from coming up for a vote by Senate Republicans on Monday, drawing sharp condemnation from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) who lambasted the conservative party for abandoning Americans in need.

“Last night, Democrats tried to move forward on a measure that would have granted the Federal Emergency Management Agency additional funding to help communities devastated by natural disasters,” Sen. Reid said in an advisory.

“This ought to be the least political issue going – whether to reach out a helping hand to our friends and neighbors in their time of need,” he continued. “They have lost friends and loved ones. Their homes, businesses and livelihoods have been destroyed by acts of god. Their communities are under water or reduced to rubble.

“It’s in our power to help them. But last night Republicans overwhelmingly voted to prevent us from coming to their aid. They prevented us from getting disaster aid to American families and businesses that need it now.”

The vote was 53-33, with Republicans uniting against measure that would have brought the aid package to a vote and put a rush on some emergency funds. A 60-vote majority was required to pass it.

“They don’t need help next week or next month,” Reid railed. “They need it now. They need it today.”

He added that because of the increased number of natural disasters this year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has just over $300 million left. President Barack Obama has issued disaster declarations in 48 states since the beginning of 2011.

The funds are so low, Reid said, that FEMA has stopped rebuilding the town of Joplin, Missouri, which was practically destroyed by tornadoes earlier this year. It withdrew funding for the Joplin rebuilding in order to provide food and shelter to the victims of Hurricane Irene.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said on Monday that House Republicans would include a much smaller package of relief funds, attached to a budget request needed to keep the government operating through the end of September.

Cantor has previously tried to withhold disaster funds to force major budget cuts elsewhere, like vehicle fuel efficiency programs, or public funding for light rail projects.

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Filed under Congressional Republicans, disaster assistance, Eric Cantor, FEMA, Hurricane Irene, President Obama, Raw Story, relief aid, US Sen. Harry Reid

Pallone Announces FEMA Briefings for State and Local Governments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 13, 2011

Long Branch, N.J. – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. Tuesday announced a schedule of public assistance applicant briefings to be conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The briefings will inform prospective applicants such as state and local governments of available assistance and eligibility requirements for obtaining Federal assistance as a result of damage from Hurricane Irene.

“I encourage local officials to take advantage of these briefings which will benefit towns in my district,” said Pallone. “FEMA will provide information that is critical receiving federal assistance.”

In the days since Hurricane Irene caused significant damage, FEMA has released $38 million in federal disaster assistance.

As of September 11, 2011 statewide, 31,400 individuals have registered with FEMA for disaster assistance, nearly $36 million in disaster assistance for housing needs has been allocated and more than $2 million in Other Needs Assistance (i.e. personal property, transportation, medical and dental expenses, funeral and burial expenses) has been allocated.

In addition to the Disaster Recovery Centers that are currently serving sixth district residents in Somerset, Union, Middlesex and Monmouth counties, FEMA will continue to open more of these centers.

There are three ways to register – go to http://www.disasterassistance.gov, to m.fema.gov or call FEMA toll-free, 800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with access or functional needs and who use a TTY may call 800-462-7585 or use 711 or Video Relay Service to call 800-621-3362. Telephone lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET; multilingual operators are available.

Federal assistance became available after the president issued a major disaster declaration on Aug. 31. Assistance is provided for eligible damage from the Hurricane Irene and related flooding, Aug. 27 through Sept. 5, 2011.

Pallone’s staff will also be present at the following briefings to assist constituents.

Wednesday, September 14

1:00 p.m.
Middlesex County
Middlesex Fire Academy
101 Fire Academy Drive
Sayreville, NJ 08872
732-316-7104

1:00 p.m.
Union
Rahway Public Library
2 City Hall Plaza
Rahway, NJ 07065

Thursday, September 15

9:00 a.m.
Monmouth County
Monmouth County Fire Academy
1027 Highway 33 East
Freehold, NJ 07728

1:00 p.m.
Somerset County
402 Roycefield Rd.
Hillsborough, NJ 08844
908-725-5070

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Filed under Congressman Frank Pallone, disaster assistance, disaster recovery centers, FEMA, Hurricane Irene, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Somerset County, Union County

Disaster Food Assistance For Storm-Impacted Families

Monmouth County to begin taking applications on Sept. 12

FREEHOLD, NJ – On Monday, Sept. 12, Monmouth County will open four locations where residents can apply for a Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) benefit if they experienced extensive material losses due to Hurricane Irene or subsequent flooding.

“Hurricane Irene and the flooding in her aftermath have negatively impacted many of our residents,” Freeholder Amy A. Mallet said. “The D-SNAP and supplemental benefits programs are ways to help families now so that they can recover from the devastating effects of the storm.”

D-SNAP is a one-time food assistance benefits that can be used only for the purchase of certain food items. Individual and families not currently receiving SNAP benefits and whose storm-related expenses include damages beyond the loss of food due to power outages may be eligible.

Monmouth County will process D-SNAP subsidy applications from Sept. 12 to Sept. 20 at temporary sites in Middletown and Asbury Park in addition to the county’s two Social Service Offices. The locations are:

– Monmouth County Division of Social Services, 3000 Kozloski Rd., Freehold
Monday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

– Monmouth County Division of Social Services, 2405 Rt. 66, Ocean Township
Monday, Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

– Croydon Hall, 900 Leonardville Rd., Middletown
Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

– Asbury Park Municipal Building, Council Chambers, Bangs Avenue entrance, Asbury Park, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Residents are encouraged to apply at any one of the sites according to the first letter of their last name. The schedule is as follows:

Monday, Sept. 12 A –B
Tuesday, Sept. 13 C- F
Wednesday, Sept. 14 G- K
Thursday, Sept. 15 L- M
Friday, Sept. 16 N- R
Monday, Sept. 19 S- T
Tuesday, Sept. 20 U- Z

The application process will ease requirements around documents necessary to apply for D-SNAP and will weigh disaster-related expenses when considering eligibility. There is an income test that includes liquid financial resources such as checking and saving accounts. Benefits are electronically applied to a card similar to a debit/credit card for the purchase of certain food items.

Individuals and families currently not receiving SNAP benefits and whose storm-related expenses include damages beyond the loss of food due to power outages may be eligible.

The state Department of Human Services’ Division of Family Development, which administers SNAP through the counties, is coordinating these processes with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services.

Residents also should be sure to register for FEMA assistance at http://www.recoveryassistance.gov and to check http://www.nj211.org for valuable disaster-related information. including how to: acquire clean-up kits; schedule home inspections, and; exercise renters rights.

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Filed under Asbury Park NJ, D-SNAP, disaster assistance, Division of Social Services, FEMA, food assistance, Freeholder Amy Mallet, Hurricane Irene, Middletown, Monmouth County

Rush Holt: How to Apply for Hurricane Disaster Assistance

If you suffered losses from Hurricane Irene, you have probably had a difficult week of clean-up and recovery. Although you may still have hard work ahead, your country stands ready to help you: the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has declared all 21 counties in New Jersey to be natural disaster areas, which means that you are now eligible to apply for federal disaster assistance.

If you incurred any uninsured costs because of Hurricane Irene – such as the costs to pump water out of your basement, to replace a water heater, to stay in temporary housing, or even the cost of unemployment while your office was flooded – I encourage you to apply, even if you are not sure whether you are eligible.

The first step in the disaster relief process is to register with the FEMA as soon as possible. You may register online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY/TDD 1-800-462-7585 between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

It is critical that you document your losses and any expenses incurred in your recovery. Take pictures of any damaged belongings, and keep your receipts for any repairs. Although documenting your losses does not guarantee your eligibility for relief funds, the documentation may be required by FEMA or your homeowner’s insurance company.

If your insurance policy carries a separate, higher deductible for hurricane-related damage, there is good news. The New Jersey State Department of Banking and Insurance has determined that Irene was a tropical storm – and not a hurricane – at the time of its landfall in New Jersey, so your insurer may not charge you the higher hurricane deductible.

Although not all families will be eligible for all disaster relief programs, federal assistance may include:

  • Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable. Initial assistance may be provided for two months for homeowners and renters. Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements.
  • Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional.
  • Grants 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.
  • Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks from the date of the disaster declaration for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals.
  • Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance. Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses. Loans available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance.
  • Loans up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster’s adverse economic impact. This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $2 million.
  • Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence.

Other relief programs include counseling for those traumatized by the disaster; income tax assistance for filing casualty losses; and advisory assistance for legal matters, veterans benefits, and Social Security. In the future, additional money will be provided to the state to prevent future disasters, and I will continue to share information with you on the availability of these and other funds.

By way of reminder, the first step in applying for any of these programs is registering with FEMA at www.disasterassistance.gov. Once you have registered, you will have access to further information and applications for the programs listed above.

Please do not hesitate to call me at 1-87-RUSH-HOLT (1-877-874-4658) if you have questions. I hope that you and your family are safe and are making steady progress down the road to recovery.

Sincerely,

Rush Holt
Member of Congress

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Filed under Congressman Rush Holt, disaster assistance, FEMA, Hurricane Irene, Social Security, unemployment benefits

Alert: Mtown Hurricane Recovery Update 9-2-11

JCP&L Update

JCP&L reports that 1,500 homes in Middletown are still without power. They expect that number to be reduced to 250 homes by the end of Friday. Additional updates are available through the JCP&L webpage below.
Emergency Brush Collection

Due to the volume of brush generated as a result of Hurricane Irene, an EMERGENCY BRUSH COLLECTION will occur town-wide. All brush must be placed curbside no later than Tuesday, September 6, 2011. Collection begins September 7, 2011. Do not mix leaves with brush. Regularly Scheduled Leaf Collection will occur in November.
The Middletown Recycling Center is open everyday until further notice to accept brush and recyclables from residents from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center is located at 52 Kanes Lane, off Route 35.
Road Closure Update

Several high volume roadways within Middletown remain closed due to storm related damage.
Hubbard Avenue- CR 12 is closed between Alexander Drive and Park Place. Local traffic only can access neighborhood streets. River Plaza School is accessible from Navesink River Road side of the road closure.
Holland Road is closed between Red Hill Road and Laurel Avenue. There is access to AT&T entrance and Tatum Park from Red Hill Road side of closure. Residences located on Laurel Avenue side of Holland Road up to MT-34 bridge can be accessed from that end of Holland Road.
There is currently no timeline available for re-opening of these roadways.
Roads in the township that were flooded or impassable only because of tree parts are open. The township is working round the clock with JCP&L regarding locations that involved down wires. Other roadway closures related to Hurricane Irene include :
  • Amhurst Avenue in Navesink
  • Bamm Hollow Road at Bunker Hill
Middletown-Lincroft Road Is Open

Middletown-Lincroft Road has been reopened and water main construction temporarily suspended. This is due to other emergent roadway closures resulting from Hurricane Irene. Construction will resume when other roadways become available for travel. Further updates will be provided.
FEMA Disaster Assistance Update

At this time FEMA has not received a Presidential disaster declaration for Monmouth County. The Township has been advised by Monmouth County Emergency Management that federal and state assessment teams are continuing their work. Monmouth County had FEMA representatives in the county beginning Friday and will continue with the process tomorrow.
As a result, FEMA will not accept applications for disaster assistance from Monmouth County residents at this time. Currently, the designated New Jersey Counties are Atlantic County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, and Salem County. At this time no counties have been denied Disaster Assistance.
In the event that FEMA will accept applications for individual assistance, you will need the following information to apply.
  • Your Social Security number.
  • Current and pre-disaster address.
  • A telephone number where you can be contacted.
  • Insurance information.
  • Total household annual income
  • A routing and account number from your bank (only necessary if you want to have disaster assistance funds transferred directly into your bank account)
  • A description of your losses that were caused by the disaster. (Middletown Emergency Management recommends that you document all your damages. Documentation can include photos and receipts.)
Monmouth County is Waiting for FEMA Assessment – Press Release

http://co.monmouth.nj.us/PressDetail.aspx?ID=918
Additional Disaster Assistance Information

http://www.fema.gov/assistance/index.shtm
Applicants Guide to Households & Individuals Program

http://www.fema.gov/pdf/assistance/process/help_after_disaster_english.pdf
Disaster Summary For FEMA-DR-4021, New Jersey

http://www.fema.gov/news/eventcounties.fema?id=15536
Be Alert For Gasoline Price Gouging, Home Repair Scams, Fraudulent Charities
As New Jersey prepares for Hurricane Irene, it is unfortunately necessary to remind consumers of the ugly truth that disasters often attract con artists and frauds.
The Division of Consumer Affairs advises consumers to be alert for potential abuses including gasoline price gouging, home repair scams, and fraudulent charity solicitations.
Gasoline price gouging: The Governor’s declaration of a State of Emergency activates New Jersey’s price gouging law. This law protects consumers who are preparing to evacuate or taking other action to protect themselves before an emergency, or preparing to recover after an emergency. The law prohibits the sale of merchandise, including fuel, at an “excessive price increase” during the State of Emergency or within 30 days of the termination of the State of Emergency. An excessive price increase is defined as an increase of 10 or more percent above the price at which the good or service was sold immediately prior to the State of Emergency; or, if there are costs imposed by the seller’s supplier or additional costs of providing the goods, a price of 10 percent in the markup from cost, compared to the markup ordinarily applied by the seller. New Jersey law also prohibits gas stations from changing the retail price of motor fuel more than once in a 24 hour period. To report violations or complaints, consumers should contact the Division of Consumer Affairs at 800-242-5846 or www.NJConsumerAffairs.com
Home repair scams: In the wake of severe flooding incidents, fly-by-night home improvement contractors have been known to prey on individuals seeking to repair the damage to their homes. Often offering low prices and speedy work, they may leave consumers with shoddy or unfinished projects and homes that remain unsafe.
Follow these guidelines to protect yourself:
Before hiring a Home Improvement Contractor: Be sure to obtain the contractor’s state registration number. Call the Division of Consumer Affairs at 800-242-5846 to learn whether the registration is still valid, and to learn if consumer complaints have been filed against the contractor. Demand a copy of the contractor’s liability insurance policy, and call the insurer to learn whether the policy is still valid. Be sure to obtain a written estimate. Do not sign a contract or make a down payment until you are sure the contractor is trustworthy, and you fully understand the terms of the contract.
Fraudulent charity solicitations: After the March 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster that affected Japan, at least one apparently fraudulent charity began sending out emails, misusing the name of a respected charitable organization and asking consumers to send donations via Western Union to a location in the Philippines. “Investigate before you donate,” and follow these guidelines to learn about charities that solicit funds:
Before donating to a charity: Find out whether the charity is registered to solicit funds in New Jersey, or is exempt from registration (certain religious and educational organizations, and charities who raise less than $10,000 annually in contributions, are exempt). Find out how, exactly the charity plans to use your money. Learn how much the charity spent during recent fiscal years on program costs, management costs, and fundraising. Learn about the charity’s stated mission. The charity should provide this information to you; you can also obtain it by calling the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Charities Registration Hotline at 973-504-6215, or the Charities Registration page at www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov

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Filed under brush collection, disaster assistance, FEMA, Hurricane Irene, Middletown NJ, Monmouth County, newsflash, NJ Consumer Affairs, road closures

Rush Holt: Latest Word On Hurricane Irene Recovery

Many in our community suffered losses in Hurricane Irene. I am continuing to survey the damage and to consult local officials about their observations.

Traveling by helicopter, by car, and door to door, I have seen that the damage is serious but spotty. Some neighborhoods have escaped damage, while others have suffered significant flooding. It is clear that, for tens of thousands of New Jerseyans, the hurricane’s impact is ongoing. I will continue to work with federal, state, and local officials to ensure that our state has every resource it needs to recover.

In the meantime, I encourage you to document any damage to your property for your insurance company. I also have written to the President to urge him to declare a major federal disaster area, and if and when this declaration is issued, I will follow up with information on any assistance for which you may be eligible to apply.

If your home was affected by flooding, I encourage you to follow guidance from FEMA upon returning home, as dangers may persist even after floodwaters recede.

You may also find New Jersey-specific information on the disaster response on the website of the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management. Up-to-the-minute information on road closures caused by the hurricane may be found at 511nj.org.

Finally, you may have heard that our region is suffering a blood shortage because Hurricane Irene forced the cancelation of many blood drives and donation appointments. If you are able to, I urge you to make an appointment to give blood as soon as possible.

All of us owe deep gratitude to the public servants who worked through the storm to keep our communities safe. Princeton in particular suffered a great loss. One of our local volunteer EMTs confronted swift floodwaters in an effort to protect local residents and, tragically, was swept away and killed. His sacrifice reminds us of the dangers that our first responders face willingly each day, and it underscores the debt we owe to those who risk their lives to keep us safe.

Although we have suffered significant losses, already our community is rallying together. Over the weekend, while volunteering at a shelter in Holmdel, I saw firsthand how countless New Jerseyans gave generously to help those displaced by the storm. At times like these, we remember that we are one community, and we are united in our resolve to help our friends and neighbors.

Sincerely,

Rush Holt

Member of Congress

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Filed under 511nj.org, American Red Cross, blood donations, Congressman Rush Holt, disaster assistance, FEMA, Hurricane Irene, New Jersey, President Obama, recovery efforts