The Christie Administration today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) Program has been extended at the Administration's request for an additional 14 days to the end of April 5, 2013. The extension means eligible people can receive TSA assistance through April 5 with a check-out date of April 6, 2013.
"We thank FEMA for continuing to extend the Transitional Sheltering Assistance Program in order to give Sandy-displaced families additional time to find more permanent housing," said Governor Christie. "We will continue to request extensions until all families in the program have a safe, suitable housing solution."
FEMA activated its Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program in the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy at New Jersey's request. The program allows eligible survivors who cannot return to their homes because of damage caused by the storm to stay in participating hotels or motels until more suitable housing is available. Individuals and households in the program had to register with FEMA for assistance; pass identity verification; and demonstrate that they are displaced from a primary residence located in a geographic area that is designated for TSA.
"We understand that in order for families to truly begin to recover from the immense devastation Sandy inflicted on their lives, they need long-term housing stability. For that reason, we've worked closely with FEMA, the New Jersey Department of Human Services, the American Red Cross, and county welfare agencies to review each and every family's needs and help them solidify a housing plan," said New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III. "We've made considerable progress and will continue our exhaustive casework over the next two weeks to help the families remaining in the program."
As of today, approximately 495 Sandy-displaced New Jersey residents are being housed through the TSA program.
Households are not eligible for extension if they have previously checked out of TSA hotels. Also, new families will not be eligible for the program unless FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer for New Jersey or the Officer's designee approves eligibility based on an extenuating circumstance.
To help displaced families locate permanent housing, the DCA has partnered with the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency and with the non-profit organization Socialserve.com to frequently update and add new rental listings to the New Jersey Housing Resource Center, which is a free service at www.NJHRC.gov for people in search of affordable housing and for landlords who are looking to provide housing.
Owners of rental housing -- be it furnished or unfurnished, with short-term leases or long-term leases -- are urged to list available rental units on the Housing Resource Center. FEMA and relief workers are using the online site everyday to aid storm survivors locate housing. Landlords are also encouraged to adjust lease terms if needed to accommodate displaced families.
Individuals who have questions regarding their eligibility should contact the FEMA helpline at 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA).