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Host of agencies helping Bergen County citizens with Hurricane Sandy disaster relief

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

Bergen County officials are holding a half-day program in Hackensack next week for people who have any questions, problems or concerns about disaster relief from Hurricane Sandy.

Representatives from federal and county organizations will be on hand to field questions about post-hurricane initiatives and programs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 14 on the first floor of the county Administration Building.

You can call, too.

Members of local utilities, volunteer organizations, and legal associations will also be available to offer advice and guidance about how to recover.

“Many people are still suffering after the storm for a variety of reasons, and we are hoping this program can help our community return to normal as quickly as possible,” Bergen County Executive Kathleen A. Donovan said.

Those scheduled to attend:

· Bergen County Bar Association : Offering legal advice about hardships and damages caused by Hurricane Sandy.

· Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) : Providing resources for temporary employment to those displaced due to the hurricane or currently unemployed residents, to be funded by a $1.5 million Department of Labor grant.

· Small Business Association (SBA) : Providing information about loan programs for damaged commercial properties.

· Bergen County Board of Social Services : Information about county programs and services, including their eligibility requirements and application process.

· United Way of Bergen County : Offering replacement options for household appliances and furniture.

· Center for Food Action : Providing emergency food to families and individuals in need living in Northern New Jersey.

· Bergen County Community Action Program (BC CAP) : Information about affordable home repair services and rental assistance.

· Volunteer Center of Bergen County : Information about volunteer opportunities around Bergen County and VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), a group of over fifty non-profit, civic and faith-based organizations that work together to help people during times of disaster.

· Rebuilding Together Bergen County : Providing information about free home repair for low-income residents of Moonachie and Little Ferry residents who need assistance recovering from Superstorm Sandy.

· Bergen County One-Stop Career Center : Providing information about state and local employment programs.

· Bergen County Office of Consumer Affairs : Will help consumers detect and avoid scammers and predatory businesses looking to profit off of storm victims.

In Hudson, the Bayonne City Museum (229 Broadway) has been added to the Jersey City Museum and a space next to the Office Depot at 59 Washington St. in Hoboken as a Disaster Relief Center.

DRCs allow residents to speak one-on-one to recovery representatives. FEMA program specialists are available to provide registration and other information, and to answer questions. These include mitigation specialists who can provide guidance on cost-effective rebuilding and repair techniques to reduce property damage in future disasters.

In addition to FEMA program specialists, customer service representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available to answer questions about the SBA low-interest disaster loan program, and to assist with disaster loan applications.

That doesn’t mean you can’t call. You can register for assistance and follow up on previous applications:

  • by phone: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362);
  • or: TTY 1-800-462-7585

New Jersey now has 34 Disaster Relief Centers open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

You don’t have to go to the center in your county. You can even go to one in a different state. Once you apply, a FEMA registration number is assigned. It can be accessed nationally.

But beware: The locations sometimes change.

To find the closest open office: http://asd.fema.gov/inter/locator/home.htm
(Or search for the DRC locator at: www.fema.gov )

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