For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
MIDDLETOWN, N.J.— Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Shaun Donovan today traveled to Middletown, N.J. to meet with state and local officials and discuss ongoing response and recovery efforts to Hurricane Sandy. Secretaries Napolitano and Donovan reiterated the ongoing support from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), HUD and the rest of the federal family for communities in impacted states, as response and recovery efforts continue.
“As I said on my first visit to New Jersey, we are here for the survivors of this storm, and we are going to be here so they get the assistance they need,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Over the past two weeks, we have continued to deploy significant resources across this state to help those in need. We are making progress and our commitment is to be here for the duration – to work with impacted communities throughout the region and ensure they emerge even stronger.”
“After meeting with families and officials here in New Jersey, I am more convinced than ever that we must continue to provide immediate and ongoing support to those whose lives have been so disrupted,” said Secretary Donovan. “But the recovery must also look to the future, and encourage the kinds of investment and redevelopment that will help communities rebuild stronger, smarter and more resiliently.”
While in New Jersey, Secretary Napolitano met with FEMA personnel to discuss the continued response and recovery efforts in the region. Including FEMA Corps – a partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service that establishes a service cadre of 18 to 24 year-olds dedicated to disaster response and recovery – FEMA has over 640 Community Relations personnel working in New Jersey, and almost 3,000 employees total deployed across the state.
Secretaries Napolitano and Donovan, and Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez visited the Middletown Joint Field Office and met with disaster survivors and state and local officials to discuss coordination among federal, state and local partners on recovery efforts throughout the region. As FEMA and its federal partners continue to work with the states in support of their recovery efforts, one of the top priorities is providing access to shelter for residents whose homes were severely damaged or destroyed by the storm.
President Obama declared a major disaster for New Jersey on Oct. 30. Federal funding is available to affected individuals in all 21 counties of New Jersey. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. Federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, for all 21 counties in New Jersey.
The first step to receive housing and other assistance is registering for disaster assistance. Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties in New Jersey can apply for assistance online at www.disasterassistance.gov, or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers are operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice.