Sandy Homeowner and Renter Assistance Program

Yesterday, Governor Christie announced the launch of the Sandy Homeowner and Renter Assistance Program (SHRAP), a temporary relief program to assist individuals and families experiencing a housing crisis resulting from Hurricane Sandy. Affected households could qualify for up to six months of payment vouchers (no more than $15,000 in total assistance) to cover select home appliances and current past due payments on rent, mortgages and/or utility bills. Payment vouchers will be offered only for subsidies, benefits, or services that have not been or will not be covered by FEMA, home insurance or other government grants and subsidies.

To be eligible for the program, an individual or family unit must:

  • Have a financial distress directly related to housing which is a direct result of Superstorm Sandy;
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible alien;
  • Not currently be receiving Work First New Jersey (WFNJ) benefits or be eligible for WFNJ/SSI Emergency Assistance; and
  • Be legally or blood-related. (If two unrelated families/individuals are sharing a home/apartment, each can apply separately.)

Other details are available by reading the official press release issued by the Governor’s office on October 22, 2013.

The state Department of Human Services has provided a list of SHRAP providers on their website. Applicants for SHRAP may apply in the county in which they are currently residing. For additional Sandy relief information visit http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/dfd/programs/shrap/.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance Available in Eight New Jersey Counties

The following press release was issued on November 1, 2012 by Governor Chris Christie’s office:

Christie Administration Announces Disaster Unemployment Assistance Available in Eight New Jersey Counties Impacted by Storm

Trenton, NJ – The U.S. Department of Labor announced that it approved Governor Chris Christie’s request for eight (8) New Jersey counties to qualify for federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance as a result of the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy.

This special assistance program pertains to people in and around portions of New Jersey that were declared a federal disaster area, including Atlantic, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union counties. Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is available for persons, including self-employed individuals, who were living or working in the affected counties at the time of the disaster, and who are unemployed as a direct result of the damages caused by the storm.

At this time, the assistance is available only in connection with those areas declared a federal a disaster area, including Atlantic, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union counties. Additional counties may be added to the disaster declaration following continued damage assessments by local officials, representatives of the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

If you are unemployed because of the disaster that began on Oct. 28, you should FIRST file for unemployment insurance benefits through the Internet by going to www.njuifile.net.

The Internet processes claims faster. However, if needed, people may also file a claim by telephone by contacting the state Department of Labor’s Re-employment Call Centers at:

North Jersey – (201) 601-4100
Central Jersey – (732) 761-2020
South Jersey – (856) 507-2340

A 30-day deadline ending December 3, 2012 is in effect for filing claims resulting from Hurricane Sandy.

For additional information regarding Disaster Unemployment Assistance or for FEMA services please call the FEMA emergency number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. Information is also available via the Internet at www.disasterassistance.gov and www.fema.gov.

For information on all New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development programs and services visit http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/index.html and www.Jobs4Jersey.com.

Power Restoration in New Jersey

The article below was composed on October 30 but due to technical problems did not get posted to the blog. It may still be useful to our neighbors still without electricity.

For the 1+ million residents in New Jersey without power, myself included, we’ve been advised it will take time to assess damages and then begin to restore power, etc.

To report a power outage in your neighborhood, downed wires, utility pole accident, tree limbs on wire, or restoration call your electric company.

The major electric utility companies in New Jersey to call are:
Atlantic City Electric
800-833-7476

Jersey Central Power & Light
888-544-4877

Orange & Rockland
877-434-4100

Public Service Electric & Gas
800-436-7734

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Preparing And Recovering From Hurricane Sandy

On Sunday, October 28 Governor Chris Christie held a press briefing and declared a state of emergency in the state of New Jersey. During the news conference he urged New Jersey residents to visit the website of the NJ 2-1-1 Partnership if in need of shelter.

To prepare for Hurricane Sandy, as much as is possible, you may find the following websites to be helpful:

Many of New Jersey’s 21 counties have emergency notification systems. Links to county government websites are available here.

Be cautious. Be safe.