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05 Jun 2013

Christie Administration Urges Sandy Impacted Homeowners To Be On Alert For “reNew Jersey Stronger” Applicant Scam

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TRENTON, N.J. – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) received a report that an individual who applied for a ‘reNew Jersey Stronger’ housing assistance grant was contacted by phone and notified that they had won a grant to rebuild their home from the “Renewjerseystronger Foundation.” The caller then indicated that the applicant was required to pay a fee to apply for the grant.

Applicants to the ‘reNew Jersey Stronger’ Housing Assistance Program are advised that there is no fee to apply. Information pertaining to the ‘reNew Jersey Stronger’ program can be found online at People can apply for free online or by calling 1-855-SANDYHM (1-855-726-3946). Additionally, there will be Sandy Housing Recovery Centers opening June 8 where applicants may apply in person. Locations and directions to the centers will be posted at as the information becomes available.

The ‘reNew Jersey Stronger’ program was launched May 24, 2013. Grants awarded through the program are designed to encourage Sandy-impacted homeowners to resettle in their primary residences and help them reconstruct, rehabilitate, elevate and mitigate their homes.

Individuals who are contacted by anyone requesting a fee for the grant application are urged to report the attempted fraud to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Statewide Sandy Fraud Working Group.

New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa created the Working Group as the State’s central clearinghouse for data-gathering, investigation, and prosecution of civil and criminal fraud related to Superstorm Sandy and the disaster recovery process. Victims or witnesses of fraud should contact the Working Group at 855-SANDY39 (855-726-3939) or

31 May 2013

Summer Camp for Children impacted by Superstorm Sandy

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Your Children are invited to attend Camp Noah this Summer!

A day camp for children whose communities have been impacted by disaster.  The camp is for elementary age children and will be held  July 22-26 2013 from 9am-3pm at St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, 220 Church Road, Toms River.

Camp Noah will offer games, skits, storytelling, puppet shows and fun activities. Each activity is designed to help children process their feelings and fears, tell their story, learn resiliency skills, make new friends and, most of all, know they are not alone. Camp Noah can change a child’s life!  Register now as space is limited.

For questions or registration please contact Chrysanthe Patestos BSN, RN, FCN, Site Coordinator, 732-255-5525 or


31 May 2013

Christie Administration Announces Launch of “reNew Jersey Stronger” $780 Million Available for Homeowners Impacted by Superstorm Sandy

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Trenton, NJ – Marking a major step forward in the recovery from Superstorm Sandy, the Christie Administration today launched the reNew Jersey Stronger housing assistance initiative to assist homeowners impacted by the storm. Beginning today, eligible homeowners can apply for grant assistance at <> or by calling
1-855-SANDYHM (1-855-726-3946).

16 May 2013

Christie Administration Announces $11.5 Million FEMA Grant to Continue Post-Sandy Crisis Counseling for Affected New Jerseyans

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Federal Funds Will Expand New Jersey Hope and Healing Program

Trenton, NJ – The Christie Administration announced today that New Jersey has received an $11.5 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which will allow the Department of Human Services (DHS) to expand the New Jersey Hope and Healing Program and continue to provide crisis counseling and outreach services to survivors of Superstorm Sandy.

The federal grant will fund ongoing efforts by the Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) Disaster and Terrorism Branch, and its partners, to help Sandy survivors cope with the emotional challenges associated with loss or displacement. Through a special certification system, more than 700 volunteers throughout the state have been trained to provide immediate emotional support after a disaster.

“Disasters like Sandy damage more than just property – for many the sense of loss, helplessness and hopelessness is unshakeable,” said DHS Commissioner Jennifer Velez. “Restoring survivors’ emotional and psychological balance is a fundamental factor in New Jersey’s rebuilding process.”

The FEMA grant will allow DMHAS and its New Jersey Hope and Healing partners – the Mental Health Association in New Jersey, Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention, Family Service Association in Atlantic, and Family Service Bureau of Newark – to continue providing community outreach, emotional support, crisis counseling, and referral services.

“The extensive physical damage from the rare superstorm was immediately evident, with storm-beaten homes, buildings and scattered debris featured extensively in national and international media,” said Adrienne Fessler Belli, Director of DHS’ Disaster and Terrorism Branch within DMHAS. “Less evident, but no less significant, was the emotional impact and distress that such a traumatic event can create.”

Research shows that feelings of anxiety and depression can increase as people try to recover from a disaster. Outreach and support efforts aim to promote resilience through use of good support systems and coping techniques, including sharing your feelings, maintaining your routine, seeking professional advice, and limiting exposure to news about the event.

Prior to this new grant, New Jersey received $4 million from FEMA to launch the Hope and Healing Program. To date, more than 150,000 residents have received counseling and outreach services.

In addition to supporting Hope and Healing of New Jersey, DMHAS has also awarded a $54,498 grant to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s University Behavioral HealthCare (UBHC) to provide emergency mobile and telephonic behavioral health counseling to Sandy survivors.

The New Jersey Hope and Healing program helpline can be reached at 1 (877) 294-HELP (4357) with TTY availability at 1 (877) 294-4356, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for people recovering from Sandy’s emotional impact.

15 May 2013

The Jersey Shore Is Open For Business

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The Christie Administration Is Committed To Rebuilding The Shore In Time For The Summer Tourist Season

Governor Christie is committed to rebuilding New Jersey and the Jersey Shore in aftermath of Super Storm Sandy so that it will be enjoyed this summer and for generations to come. As a major tourism destination for people across the state and the country, the Shore is essential to the economic vitality of the Garden State.

A Record Breaking Year For New Jersey Tourism:

New Jersey’s travel and tourism industry is directly responsible for more than 500,000 jobs – or 10 percent of the state’s total number of jobs, according to the Economic Impact of Tourism Report. Last year, New Jersey set a new record with visitor spending, capital investment and general government support of tourism surpassing the previous record of $39.5 billion that was reached in 2007. That number represented a 2.6 percent increase over 2011. Domestic visits to New Jersey also continued to rise, with a 4.8 percent increase to 82.5 million visits in 2012.

Helping Small Businesses Get Back On Their Feet:

In the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy, the Christie Administration has worked expeditiously to get programs and direct assistance to small businesses. More than $756 million in U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loans have been approved, representing more than 11,480 low interest loans going to homeowners, renters and businesses to aid in their recovery.

Distributing The Resources New Jersey Needs For The Rebuilding Process

The Christie Administration has received approval from the Obama Administration to move forward with the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery Action Plan. This plan outlines how we will utilize the first phase of the emergency supplemental passed by Congress in January. The first $1,829,520,000 in CDBG funds provided to New Jersey by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will focus primarily on helping homeowners, renters, businesses and communities impacted by Super Storm Sandy.

The Action Plan incorporates input from HUD, as well as Sandy-impacted communities and stakeholder groups whose engagement will continue throughout the State’s recovery, rebuilding and restoration process.

  • CDBG Disaster Recovery funds are intended to address unmet needs not satisfied by private insurance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration, or other sources.
  • The Christie Administration projects to dedicate over 55 percent of funding from this first tranche of CDBG Disaster Recovery funds for low-to-moderate-income households.
  • Next Steps For New Jersey Homeowners, Renters And Small Business Owners:
  • Visit to choose either housing or business assistance and fill out notification forms to receive real time updates on programs and next steps. This web site will feature fact sheets with basic information about the programs and steps to prepare for submitting an application for assistance.
  • There are also two hotline numbers available: for housing assistance, call 1-855-SANDYHM (1-855-726-3946); for business assistance, call 1-855-SANDYBZ (1-855-726-3929).

Supporting Economic Recovery and Revitalization:

Economic recovery and revitalization is also a top priority of the Action Plan to restore communities and promote job growth. Businesses in the 113 municipalities most impacted by Super Storm Sandy incurred commercial property losses in excess of $380 million and business interruption losses in excess of $63 million. To help New Jersey businesses, the Christie Administration is setting aside $460 million in funding for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to administer the following activities:

  • Small Business Grants: Eligible small businesses that sustained physical damage are able to apply for grants of up to $50,000. These grants can be used for rehabilitation, new construction, equipment, inventory, mitigation, refinancing and working capital among other uses.
  • Direct Loans For Storm-Impacted Small Businesses: These loans, up to $5 million, are intended to assist small businesses that suffered physical damage, as well as spur economic revitalization by providing funding for expansion and new businesses in storm-impacted areas.
  • Neighborhood And Community Revitalization Programs: Provides funding to help communities with public facility improvements such as streetscapes, lighting, and sidewalks; businesses assistance initiatives such as micro-loans for storm-related damage and loan guarantees for loan loss reserves; and façade and code-related improvements.
  • Tourism Marketing Campaign: This marketing campaign will promote storm-impacted businesses and shore communities by letting the nation know that New Jersey is recovering and that communities are open for business. The campaign funded at $25 million would also encourage New Jerseyans and tourists to shop local, thereby supporting companies that are operational.

It is estimated the Action Plan’s rental development and rehabilitation programs will create 3,000 jobs and $500 million in economic activity.

Putting New Jerseyans Back To Work:

Administration efforts to put New Jerseyans back to work to rebuild the Shore are helping Sandy-impacted businesses and workers, as well as investing in future economic growth:

  • The Christie Administration has secured a $15.6 million National Emergency Grant (NEG) to hire workers to repair town beachfront areas:
  • Bradley Beach is one of dozens of communities in 11 New Jersey counties that have put 428 unemployed people to work on storm clean-up using the funds;
  • Another 650 people are slated to be brought in up to five other counties.
  • The Administration has created two new Talent Networks: a Sandy Recovery Talent Network and a Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Talent Network:
  • The Sandy Recovery Network will allow employers to report the hurdles, needs and demands they face in trying to rebuild and hire new workers;
  • The Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Talent Network will represent a key industry cluster in New Jersey that, before the storm, accounted for about 24 percent of all private sector workers and paid more than $20 billion in annual wages.
14 May 2013

Ocean MHS Announces Path to Renewal

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If you are you feeling stressed, overwhelmed, sad, angry, or just generally out of sorts since Hurricane Sandy, the Ocean MHS Path to renewal program can help today.

Whether you need a brief individual service, access to groups or longer term assistance, we will design a program to meet your specific needs.

We also have speakers to meet with groups including parent/teacher organizations, workplace in-services, Hurricane Sandy volunteers, community centers and more. These presentations can include information regarding coping skills, stress management, signs of trauma, and community mental health resources, and can be tailored to meet your group’s specific needs.

We already have some support groups scheduled at the Brick branch of the Ocean County Library. Join us on Wednesday, May 15th and May 29th at 7:00 pm. For additional information about these groups or any of our Path to Renewal services call us at (732)228-0486 or (732)221-1492

This program was funded in part by a grant from the Robin Hood Foundation

02 May 2013

Hurricane Sandy Disaster Survivors Can Appeal FEMA Decision

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If you have been turned down for or received less disaster assistance from FEMA than you feel is needed, your case is not closed. The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced on April 26th, 2013 that New Jersey disaster survivors of Hurricane Sandy who have been turned down for disaster assistance by FEMA have the right to appeal that decision.

Before going through the appeal process FEMA recommends reading your determination letter carefully, as they may only be requesting more information.

You only have 60 days from the date of your determination letter to appeal, so act quickly. For more information on reasons for application denial and how to appeal, click here.