HOWELL – Acting Gov. Kim Guadagno urged homeowners today who sustained major flood damage from Hurricane Irene to file a claim with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to receive disaster assistance.
The state has thus far secured $116 million in federal funds to help cover damages homeowners suffered, she said.
Standing in front of a single-family home that was uninhabitable and gutted after the storm, Guadagno said today that she wanted to “shed a light on the devastation we’ve seen.”
The home, located in a development of Mariner’s Cove, isn’t even in a floodplain. Yet the homeowner of seven years, Marcio Mescia, 51, said the house was submerged in 4 feet of water.
“This was not supposed to happen. I’m not in Bound Brook,” he said.
Mescia has been staying in an apartment since the house was damaged.
Guadagno said that while the federal funds may not cover everyone’s damaged property, “it’s a good step forward.” She spoke with many residents who gathered in the cul-de-sac and also had storm-related damage to their properties.
“They are shocked by the scope of the damage,” she said.
Howell Mayor Bob Walsh said hundreds of homes saw some basement or first-floor damage and estimated that some 70 homes were evacuated in this large Monmouth County suburb.
FEMA representative Bill Vogel said that some 53,000 residents in New Jersey have registered for FEMA funds. He said no storm in the past ever inflicted as much damage in this particular area as this one did.
There is a deadline of Oct. 31 to apply for FEMA relief.
There are three ways to register – log on to www.disasterassistance.gov or m.fema.gov or call FEMA’s toll-free number, 1-800-621-3261 (FEMA), or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Those with access or functional needs and who use a TTY, call 800-462-7585; or, use 711 or Video Relay Service to call 800-621-3362. Both numbers are available from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.