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Topics of interest to Clerks of Session, Session Moderators and others who are interested in Presbyterian local-church governance.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hurricane Recovery: Where to Find Help

President Obama has issued a Major Disaster Declaration for damage resulting from Hurricane Irene in our state, which makes many New Jersey residents eligible for a number of Federal disaster relief programs. These programs offer grants and loans to individuals and loans to businesses. Churches can do a real service to their members by putting them in touch with these resources.

The Federal Government has set up a website that allows people to apply online for assistance. This website consolidates the application process across several Federal agencies, including FEMA and the Small Business Administration. The website also reduces the number of forms applicants will ultimately have to fill out, shortens the time it takes to apply and allows them to check the progress of their applications online.

Those who prefer to apply by phone rather than the Internet may may call 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362).

In addition, churches will want to note that Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has One Great Hour of Sharing funds available to help people in need as a result of Hurricane Irene. Churches that are providing for the basic needs of those affected by the disaster may apply through the Presbytery for these funds. An initial amount can be disbursed rather quickly, with little in the way of an application process, other than the endorsement of Presbytery leadership. Further assistance is available through a more formal application process.

For more information about disaster-recovery funds available through PDA, please contact me.

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