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Mercer County announces opening of Disaster Recovery Center

Mercer County and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have opened a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) at Hollowbrook Community Center in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Ida.

The DRC, located at 320 Hollowbrook Drive in Ewing Township, will assist any Mercer County residents or businesses whose property was damaged in Ida on Sept. 1.

The center, which opened on Sept. 14, is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sunday. Residents do not need to schedule an appointment to visit the center, nor must they be Mercer County residents, according to the county.

The DRC will be staffed by FEMA representatives who can provide information on disaster aid and answer questions.

The DRC is open to residents and businesses from every municipality in Mercer County, and residents from any other county that received the FEMA “Disaster” declaration.

On Sept. 10, Mercer County residents were declared eligible to register for individual assistance with FEMA. Residents who previously registered for assistance via the internet or by phone do not need to visit the DRC, but can ask questions or seek further information in person at the DRC.

The eligibility for FEMA Individual Assistance means residents or business owners whose properties were directly damaged by the flooding or storm events Sept. 1-3 can apply to recoup their losses.

According to the county, a DRC is a readily accessible facility or mobile office where applicants may go for information about FEMA or other disaster assistance programs, or for questions related to a specific case.

Some of the services that a DRC may provide guidance regarding disaster recovery, clarification of any written correspondence received, housing assistance and rental resource information, answers to questions, resolution to problems and referrals to agencies that may provide further assistance, status of applications being processed by FEMA and Small Business Administration (SBA) program information if there is an SBA representative at the DRC site.

Affected residents and business owners can begin the disaster application process by registering online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.

The toll-free numbers are available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. and applicants registering for aid should be prepared to provide basic information such as their name, the name of the business, address, phone number, insurance coverage, and other information to help substantiate losses.

Individual assistance, if awarded, can cover reimbursement for a variety of storm-related expenses. These include, but are not limited to: rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are uninhabitable; grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance; low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance; loans for small businesses that suffered disaster-related cash flow problems; and loans for farmers and other agriculture operators to cover property loss.

Additionally, mall businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in Mercer County are eligible to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA.

Residents in need of assistance with damage from Tropical Storm Ida may call a Home Cleanup Hotline at 844-965-1386 to be connected with volunteers from local relief organizations and community groups that may be able to assist with cutting fallen trees, removing drywall, flooring and appliances, tarping roofs and mitigating mold.

The hotline will remain open through Sept. 17.

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