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September 14, 2011

Re:      Hurricane Irene FEMA Recovery News

Dear Mayor:

FEMA has released the following information regarding program assistance for residents affected by Hurricane Irene. Please share this information with your residents.

I.          Disaster Assistance Funding Available for All Who Qualify

FEMA is advising that New Jersey residents who were affected by Hurricane Irene should not forego registering for disaster assistance just because they think doing so will keep the assistance from reaching less-fortunate neighbors as disaster assistance is available for everyone who qualifies.  To date, more than $44 million, approximately $42.5 million in housing assistance and $2.3 million for other needs, has been disbursed to Hurricane Irene survivors in New Jersey under FEMA’s individual and household programs. 

In addition, it is important to note that federal and state disaster grants will not affect Social Security benefits and the grants are not taxable.

More information is on Disaster Assistance Funding Available for All Who Qualify is available at

II.        FEMA Assistance Based on Individual Loss, Needs

Residents now eligible for individual disaster assistance should know that the help they may receive will be based on their own unique circumstances and needs.  Disaster assistance to individuals is based on a number of factors and FEMA specialists are trained to seek out and coordinate the eligible assistance from a number of sources.  This might include direct financial grants, low-interest loans, charitable contributions from voluntary agencies and/or other resources that will help residents who are recovering from the disaster.

The unique needs of everyone who registers are evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine the types of assistance that are best suited to that individual.  The process and final assistance determination is set by federal regulation and is strictly confidential.  Not everyone who registers will qualify, but registering with FEMA is the first step in the process.

More information is on FEMA Assistance Based on Individual Loss, Needs is available at

III.       Disaster Unemployment Assistance Available to Residents

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is available to self-employed residents or individuals who worked in New Jersey and are unemployed as a direct result of Hurricane Irene.  DUA is designed to cover workers and self-employed individuals such as artist, farmers and farm workers, freelance writers and photographers, and other who normally would not be eligible for Unemployment Insurance.

Individuals who need DUA may call any one of the following, from any county, and DUA specialist will provide assistance:

Union City:     201-601-4100
Freehold:        732-761-2020
Cumberland:  856-5070-2340

The application deadline for DUA is

October 3rd for residents in Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic and Somerset counties
October 7th for residents in Atlantic, Burlington, Cape Mayo, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Salem, Sussex, Warren and Union counties
More information is on Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available at

IV.       Disaster Recovery Centers

FEMA is continuing to open Disaster Recovery Centers in New Jersey.  At the center residents can:

  • Receive information about different types of state and federal disaster assistance
  • Get help completing applications for U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loans for homeow2+ners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private non-profit organizations.
  • Inquire about the status of applications for federal assistance
  • Receive referrals to voluntary organizations to help with immediate unmet needs
  • Learn cost-effective measures to reduce the impact of future disasters losses.

The centers are generally opened from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., seven days a week, until further notice.  Residents are urged to register before visiting a Disaster Recovery Centers.

Residents can find the Disaster Recovery Center nearest to them on-line at

Very truly yours,


William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director



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