The FEMA Disaster Recover Center opened its doors Monday to assist those still dealing with the mess left behind by Super Storm Sandy.
Located at the Willing Heart Community Care Center (555 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Newark), the center is a one-stop shop for all Sandy and nor'easter Athena recovery resources. Residents can apply for disaster and recovery grants on site, as well as obtain information on things like homeowner mitigation, disaster unemployment and low-interest disaster loans for small businesses.
"We want to make certain all those who sustained losses or damages from the recent storms understand exactly what they have to do in order to determine if they're eligible for aid – and that they receive that aid," said Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
In Essex County, about 22,200 people have already applied for FEMA assistance, with $1.3 million approved for the area, according to FEMA spokesperson Alberto A. Pillot.
The center, one of 23 across the state, will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for at least another 30 days. Those interested in receiving FEMA help are urged to register beforehand by calling 800-621-FEMA or visiting disasterassistance.gov. FEMA representatives that speak English, Spanish, Portuguese and six other languages will be on hand.
Newark has been a hub for area Sandy relief efforts, said Booker. New Hope Baptist Church has been the central location for food and clothing donations and has already helped at least 100,000 people, he said.
Still, two weeks after Sandy barreled through the city, pockets of Newark are still without power, including a senior housing complex on S. 8th Street which is running on backup generators. Booker said the most devastating damage was in the city's East Ward, where countless homes and businesses were ruined by floodwaters.
"There is no reason why anyone right now should be suffering alone," said Booker, urging residents to pitch in with recovery efforts.
Three Sandy-related deaths were recorded in Newark, which saw
While overall crime in Newark dropped nearly 20 percent the week after the storm, Booker said the numbers of emergency calls and fires have ballooned.