Attendance down at Sandy recovery events; organizers say help is still available

Organizers of Sandy recovery events are wondering whether people who need help have given up on trying to get it. A workshop sponsored by Operation

Organizers of Sandy recovery events are wondering whether people who need help have given up on trying to get it.

Organizers of Sandy recovery events are wondering whether people who need help have given up on trying to get it. (12/12/13)

TOMS RIVER - Organizers of Sandy recovery events are wondering whether people who need help have given up on trying to get it.

A workshop sponsored by Operation HOPE at the Ocean County Library welcomed only a handful of business owners Thursday.

Joseph Palazzolo's organization, which gives low interest loans to small business owners hurt by Sandy, was among the non-profit groups on hand. He says fewer and fewer business owners have been reaching out.

"I think people are fatigued," he says. "A lot of people after 14 months of being told no, being told to go to that person or this person, or we can't help you. I have to imagine 14 months later they're going to say this isn't for us anymore."

Toms River attorney Regina Gelzer says the impact from Sandy has been long term. "Just less filings, less people," she says. "I have a lot of people looking for help, but can't afford to do it. I'm being retained less frequently."

Chris Aroco, a landlord in Ocean Gate, says he too has yet to recover. He learned about services at the workshop to help make his grant applications more successful. "As time goes on there's more and more available for everyone," he says.

Aroco says coming out to the events is the best way to find out about them.

Operation HOPE says that small business owners should reach out soon because some funding runs out at the end of the year. The non-profit also wants to point out that some people, like registered day care providers, are also considered small businesses.
 

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