Brick Mayor Calls for Clarity of FEMA Disaster Aid Rules
The passage of the $50 billion dollar Federal Sandy Disaster Aid bill unlocks a flood of fiscal resources to help storm-tossed towns and even homeowners recover but one local Ocean County Mayor is expressing frustration.
Brick Township Mayor Steve Acropolis says he's frustrated over the lack of clarity from FEMA on who'll be eligible for things like Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). Acropolis says he recently met with the state's Storm Recovery Coordinator Marc Ferzan in Trenton.
"Through this discussion, what came up is, they believe that if people don't apply for the S.B.A Loan that they will not qualify for the Community Development Block Grant Money." However, Acropolis is finding out that, that may or may not be the case.
Acropolis attributes the uncertainty about information from FEMA and lack of commitment to eligibility rules, to the lack of experience of FEMA representatives dispatched to the Garden State.
"It has been a very difficult process for us when you're dealing, you know, we've had such a Round Robin, a revolving door of federal people that have come through. There's one gentlemen, I think that's been here from the start and I believe he's staying here and he's in this region but initially, there were many many people here from all over the country and some of them had only been working with FEMA for several weeks .... I think that's something that the federal government needs to look at much much better because if these storms are going to be more frequent, hopefully not in New Jersey but up and down the east coast and in the Gulf, I think they need certain groups of people who are specialist in those areas."
Acropolis is urging residents to fill out FEMA and SBA Loan applications before the deadline, just in case. Apply online at disasterassistance.gov, via smartphone at m.fema.gov, via telephone at (800) 621-3362, call TTY (800) 462-7585