FEMA Disaster Recovery Center Scheduled to Open Friday

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will open a Disaster Recovery Center at Mercer County Community College this Friday, Sept. 16, Mercer County officials announced.

The FEMA office will be housed in the fine arts building on the West Windsor campus from 8a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, until FEMA officials determine the office has helped all those Mercer residents who seek potential reimbursement.

The disaster relief center will be staffed by FEMA representatives who can provide information on FEMA disaster aid and answer questions. It will be open to residents and businesses from every municipality in Mercer County.

Homeowners, renters, and business owners who suffered storm damage need to bring a list of items that were lost or damaged as a result of the floods.

County officials from the housing, economic development and human services departments will be available to offer guidance and resources, including information on loans, mental health services for those having trouble dealing with the stress, and clean up tips.

“We want to let our hardworking residents and business owners here in Mercer County know that we are here to help get them back on their feet after this historic hurricane,” Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes said in a press release about the opening of the center.

Some of the services the center normally provides:

  • Guidance regarding disaster recovery
  • Clarification of any written correspondence received
  • Housing assistance and rental resource information
  • Answers to questions, resolution to problems and referrals to agencies that may provide further assistance
  • Status of applications being processed by FEMA
  • Small Business Administration program information if there is a SBA Representative at the disaster recovery center site.

Eligibility for FEMA Individual Assistance means residents or business owners whose properties were directly damaged by Hurricane Irene events Aug. 27-Sept. 5 can apply to recoup their losses.

Affected residents and business owners can begin the disaster application process by registering online at www.fema.gov or registering by phone at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free numbers are available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week, and applicants registering for aid should be prepared to provide basic information such as their name, the name of the business, address, phone number, insurance coverage, and other information to help substantiate losses.

Individual Assistance, if awarded, can cover reimbursement for a variety of storm-related expenses, county officials said. These include, but are not limited to: rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are uninhabitable; grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance; low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance; loans up to $1.5 million for small businesses that suffered disaster-related cash flow problems; and loans up to $500,000 for farmers and other agriculture operators to cover property loss.

Mercer County residents have until Oct. 31 to file a claim with FEMA.