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FEMA Snapshot

A guide to recent FEMA activity and information in Springfield and the Union County area.

FEMA provided Patch with the following information shortly before Thanksgiving. 

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Number of Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) open: 31

In Union County: 19,968 people had registered for assistance.

Yesterday 43 visitors at the DRC in Springfield and 35 in Springfield.

Total number of DRC visitors: 14,977

All DRC hours are currently open from  8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

DRC hours will change on Friday, 11/23, 9:00am to 7:00pm
(DRC 27 change of hours TBD, due to curfew)

When a survivor qualifies for a grant from FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program, the transaction is usually by direct deposit into the recipient’s bank account.

FEMA debris experts are asking New Jersey residents who have debris from Hurricane Sandy to haul that debris to the curb for pick up. Debris pick up teams cannot go onto people’s private property to remove any debris. Debris placed on the property between the sidewalk and the resident’s home will not be picked up.

In addition, residents are asked to separate the debris into these categories:

1.       Household garbage (rotten food caused by power outages, bagged trash)

2.       Construction debris (destroyed drywall, ruined carpets, furniture, etc.)

3.       Vegetation debris (tree branches, leaves, logs)

4.       Household hazardous wastes (Oils, batteries, pesticides, etc.)

5.       “White” goods (refrigerators, washers and dryers, air conditioners, etc.)

6.       Electronics (televisions, computers, radios, etc.)

     Also, residents should not stack debris around trees or poles. Doing so makes it harder for cleanup crews to scoop up the items.

In an effort to give every volunteer group coming to help in New Jersey an effective and efficient experience, AmeriCorps teams will be setting up a Volunteer Reception Centers, which will match the volunteers with specific missions in one of the many communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  Some of the volunteer missions might include chainsaw crews, mucking flooded buildings, moving debris from private property to curbs, or putting “Blue Tarps” on roofs to prevent further damages to homes.

There are other resources:
  • The Department of Health and Human Services has activated behavioral health professionals from the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps to provide mental health support in shelters and for first responders. The toll-free National Disaster Distress Helpline is 1-800-985-5990 or by texting ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746. Multilingual support is available.
  • FEMA is partnering with other federal agencies such as U.S. Housing and Urban Development to identify available rental units and other available temporary housing resources to hurricane survivors who are not able to return to their homes.
  • New Jersey residents can visit http://nj211.org/hurricane.cfm or call 211 to find information about FEMA assistance and how to apply, clean-up resources and local recovery efforts.
If survivors want to find a disaster recovery center location, they can check out the disaster recovery center locator at www.FEMA.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or by mobile phone at m.fema.gov. They  may also text DRC and a ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) For example, if you lived in Springfield, you would text: DRC 07081 or 07060 for Plainfield.
Disaster Legal Services provided by members of the Young Lawyers Division of the New Jersey Bar Association, are available to survivors at 1-888-541-1900.
  • Assistance replacing lost legal documents.
  • Assistance with all insurance-related claims.
  • Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems.
  • Counseling on landlord/tenant problems.
  • Creditor/debtor matters.
  • FEMA appeals.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits are available for those whose jobs were impacted by the hurricane. That includes people not normally eligible for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed persons and farm workers.  Registration closes Feb. 4, 2013; applicants should contact a New Jersey Reemployment Call Center.  Locations include Union City (201-601-4100), Freehold (732-761-2020), and Cumberland (856-507-2340).
DUA applicants who need copies of Federal Income Tax Returns can obtain them at IRS Tax Returns: 1-866-562-5227, Press “1” for Hurricane Sandy.

FEMA Accomplishments:

About 85% of more than 93,500 damaged homes reported so far have been inspected by more than 890 FEMA building inspectors.

  • The full range of federal disaster assistance is available for all 21 counties in New Jersey. All individuals who sustained damage from Sandy are now eligible for Individual Assistance. Local governments in all 21 New Jersey counties are eligible for 7 categories of Public Assistance,      A-G, which helps repair or replace public infrastructure and facilities.
  • Total of registered survivors are 224,014 and FEMA had approved 228 millions.
  • As of Friday evening, 1,873 individuals and families were housed in 229 motels and hotels through FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance program.

FEMA has on the ground 601 Community Relations Specialists including 214 FEMA Corps members are canvassing neighborhoods and providing registration and other information directly to survivors in hard-hit communities.

Voluntary Agency Liaison (VAL) continues to coordinate with governmental, nonprofit, faith-based, charitable and other agencies that perform voluntary services in support of disaster recovery.
Plans for the future:
Long term recovery and we will be here as long as we are needed.

Jim Shamrock November 30, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Extremely Helpful and knowledgeable Caring people.
Bob Groder November 30, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Very imformative. I got denyed by fema this year for housing assistance even though they told me i was eligible it ended up not working out. last year fema helped me when I lost my whole basement during irene. They do the best they can with the resources they are given.

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