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Disaster Centers Available for Hurricane Recovery Aid

Monmouth residents can visit facility in Leonardo; center opening Tuesday in Brick

Monmouth and Ocean county residents in need of governmental assistance as they recover from Hurricane Irene will be able to get face-to-face help starting this week.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) opened a Disaster Recovery Center this weekend in the Leonardo section of Middletown for Monmouth County residents and will open a center in Brick for Ocean residents Tuesday.

will be on hand to assist residents and business owners who wonder if they qualify for federal funds after sustaining damage during the hurricane. for distribution following for all 21 New Jersey counties.

Residents are urged to register with FEMA before visiting a Disaster Recovery Center, either online or over the phone — call 800-621-3362 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (800-462-7585 for the hearing- or speech-impaired) or visit www.disasterassistance.gov.

Once registered, residents and merchants will have their properties assessed by FEMA-contracted inspectors to assess damage and the possibility of aid. Gov. Chris Christie's office has said aid may be available to cover home and business repairs as well as related expenses, including medical costs.

However, residents who would prefer to navigate the process with the help of a professional are urged to walk into a Disaster Recovery Center, open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., where they can learn about disaster assistance; get help completing loan applications; check on the status of applications; and receive referrals to various organizations, where applicable.

The Leonardo center is now open, at the Henry Hudson Trail Activity Center, 945 Route 36. The Brick center will open at noon Tuesday at the Brick Township Civic Center, 270 Chambers Bridge Road, Suite 11 and will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. thereafter.

The two centers join at least six already in place in Morris, Essex, Union, Hudson, Warren and Middlesex counties.

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