Governor Chris Christie says the federal government has approved disaster assistance for New Jerseyans impacted by Hurricane Irene in additional counties.
Residents and business owners in 16 of the 21 counties in New Jersey are now eligible for disaster relief through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Mercer County still has not made the list. Christie had requested assistance for all 21 New Jersey counties, but damage assessments need to be completed before such assistance can be granted. In addition to Mercer, the other counties not yet eligible for relief are Burlington, Hudson, Ocean and Union.
Eligibility allows New Jerseyans to apply for different types of assistance, including temporary housing, repair, replacement or other needs such as disaster unemployment assistance, and Small Business Administration disaster loans.
New Jersey residents and small businesses in the following counties are eligible for assistance: Atlantic, Bergen, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren.
Mercer County has been approved for public assistance by the federal government. Funding is also available to state and eligible local governments and some private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by Hurricane Irene.
Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes has questioned why Mercer County has not made the list yet, but FEMA representatives said nobody has been left out and the agency is still completing its review.
Survivors of Hurricane Irene who suffered damage should apply for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, even if they have insurance or aren’t sure they are eligible.
Residents of the five counties that have yet to be declared eligible for individual assistance by the federal government are being encouraged to begin the process of registering with FEMA for relief.
You can register by phone at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585 for those with hearing or speech impairments. Call ours are daily, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can also register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or you can also apply through a web-enabled mobile device or smartphone by visiting m.fema.gov and following the link to “apply online for federal assistance.”