Three chances for Sandy rebuild support in one week in Ocean County
If you're one of the tens of thousands of Superstorm Sandy survivors trying to rebuild with federal or state help that's less than you expected, the next seven days offer you ample opportunity to learn if you can qualify for more.
All three are open to claimants from any of the nine New Jersey counties included in Superstorm Sandy reconstruction.
Stop FEMA Now Workshops
On Saturday, July 25, Stop FEMA Now members offer insight on reopening Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) claims in a workshop at the Silverton First Aid Headquarters in Toms River.
According to group founder George Kasimos, claimants in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) aren't the only ones who should take a second look at their documents.
"Those who were underpaid or denied have nothing to lose by seeking additional funds," Kasimos said in a prepared statement.
He'll outline what constitutes "substantially damaged" under state guidelines, point out benefit duplication discrepancies and what exposes claimants to the ristk of recoupment - paying back portions of funds already received.
The site is on Maine Street, near Hooper Avenue and Silver Bay Road. It begins at 9:30 AM.
A second one takes place Monday, 7:30 PM, in the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center on Route 37. Members of the Weisbrod, Matteis & Copley law firm take part in each.
State-run RREM & LMI Clinic
Tuesday, July 28, staffers in the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) travel to the Brick Township Civic Plaza for a workshop aimed at grantees in the RREM and Low and Moderate Income (LMI) programs. Representatives from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), advisors from the Sandy Housing Counseling Program and others will also take part.
"Whether participants are nearing completion on the rebuilding or elevating of their storm-damaged home or are just recently funded under the RREM or LMI programs, we will have knowledgeable staff available to field their questions," DCA Commissioner Charles Richman said in a prepared release.
Housing counselors can offer guidelines that apply to the Rental Assistance Program (RAP), aimed at helping rebuilding homeowners afford temporary dwellings.
"Homeowners in either housing recovery program can use the Information Session to check the status of their application, address challenges they may be facing in their individual rebuilding process, determine new action items, and educate themselves about best practices and key information as they move through the process," Richman said.
The Civic Plaza is on Chambers Bridge Road. It starts at 7 PM.
OCLTRG Talks NFIP
Thursday, July 30, at Saint Andrew's Church in Toms River, members of the Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group (OCLTRG) help subscribers in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) navigate the system to reopen their claims.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) agreed to revisit any claim that has been paid, in the aftermath of allegations that data was manipulated to lessen payouts.
Of the more than 70,000 New Jersey NFIP claimants eligible to reopen their settlements, about 36,000 are in Ocean County, according to OCLTRG Executive Director Sue Marticek. Yet, by her estimate, only about 9,000 on the entire East Coast have taken FEMA up on its offer.
She attributes it to fear of recoupments - a possibility that FEMA underscored in its mailings to all claimants - as well as mistrust, misunderstandings, and sheer burnout.
However, she points out that prospects are promising for those who have dived in with OCLTRG's help. "We've worked on five cases so far, and it looks like there's a lot of room for them to get some additional funding," Marticek said.
Saint Andrew's is on Church Road. The clinic runs from 3 PM until 7 PM. Walk-ins will be met in order of arrival, but appointments can be arranged at 732-569-3484, extension 24.