State, federal officials hold virtual town hall to explain assistance for Ida victims

Thousands of New Jersey residents in 12 counties are looking to FEMA to help repair the damage they sustained from Tropical Storm Ida.

News 12 Staff

Sep 24, 2021, 11:39 PM

Updated 933 days ago

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Thousands of New Jersey residents in 12 counties are looking to FEMA to help repair the damage they sustained from Tropical Storm Ida.
Gov. Phil Murphy held a virtual town hall meeting Friday morning to help answer questions about how to get federal and state assistance.
“This was, I think by any measure, the worst natural disaster to hit our state since Superstorm Sandy,” Murphy said.
Twelve counties in the state have been declared federal major disaster areas. Murphy’s town hall featured members of his cabinet, as well as federal officials.
“So far we’ve taken in over 52,000 applications from New Jerseyans and we’ve also awarded over $32 million,” said Patrick Cornbill, federal coordinating officer for FEMA.
The group fielded questions from Ida victims on topics like rental assistance.
“We can help you either with a place to stay…if your place isn’t habitable. We can give you assistance to stay somewhere else,” Cornbill said.
There was also information about how to navigate the mountain of emails and paperwork in claims.
“Even if it says the word ‘denial’ on it, read it very carefully. Because sometimes it says, ‘pending submission of insurance documentation,’” Cornbill said.
Sen. Bob Menendez was also a part of the town hall.
“We’ll pull every lever of federal power possible to help our communities to recovery and our families rebuild from Tropical Storm Ida,” Menendez said.
The senator drew on his experience fighting for the victims of Superstorm Sandy.
“Be sure to document every interaction you have, every conversation you have, with your insurance company. The unfortunate reality is that many of the flood insurance issues we uncovered in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy still exist today,” he said.
Murphy also had a warning for any unscrupulous contractor or unlicensed charities who might seek to profit from recovery efforts.
“There's a special place in hell for the folks who try to take advantage of people during a disaster,” he said.
Anyone who needs to apply to FEMA for disaster assistance can go to DisasterAssistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA.


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