Families, businesses look for help from FEMA

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CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – The Jackson family lost a Dodge Durango and Ford Contour as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

Insulation in their home in Wildwood also got soaked, and the electric isn't working.

The late October storm brought severe flooding, fierce winds and power outages, particularly in the barrier island communities.

As the Jacksons pick up the pieces of their lives, the family appears to be trying to stay positive. Sonja Jackson said she is grateful to have a home.

They were among numerous people who have turned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster recovery center at the lower level of the main library in Cape May Court House this week. The center opened to residents last week, and many people on the coastline are using the resource.

Hurricane Sandy victims are able to register for FEMA assistance, housing assistance, hazard mitigation, unemployment assistance and receive Small Business Administration loan information.

The Jacksons’ home is at 26th and Hudson avenues in Wildwood, near the bay. The house was flooded, with extensive damage. Sonja could not say how much the repairs would cost.

Sonja visited the center with her husband, Ron, and her niece, Hannah, who is 9.

The family is staying in their Wildwood home.

"We can't afford to go anywhere else," she said.

During the storm, the Jacksons took refuge at neighbor's home.

FEMA spokesman Michael McCormack of Massachusetts said 77 people came to the Court House disaster recovery center Sunday morning. By noon Monday, the same amount of peopled turned out, he said.

Most people are coming from the coastline to seek disaster recovery assistance, he said.

McCormack said likely there are between 15-16 FEMA people at the disaster recovery center. Among places the workers are from are New Jersey and Florida.

Brian Polhamus said his first-floor apartment on Glenwood Avenue in West Wildwood had several inches of water. He said his home is now gutted.

He visited the disaster recovery center on Monday evening to see about being compensated for personal property loss and for housing assistance.

Polhamus said he lost two air conditioners, a couch and a refrigerator, among other items. He lives with a roommate.

“I feel like my life is on a treadmill,” he said.

Polhamus said he is staying in North Wildwood and Villas in Lower Township with friends and his sister in Gloucester County.

Business owner Julie Frasca of Upper Township sought out Small Business Administration loan assistance Monday night at the Cape May Court House library.

She owns the Julie's Headquarters barbershop in Ocean City, which ended up getting about a foot and a half of water inside because of Sandy.

The storm ruined her new blow-driers, floor mats, pedicure stations and other items. She said she relocated her business from another section of the city at the end of May.

Frasca said she hoped to back in business Eighth Street and Asbury Avenue Tuesday, Nov. 6.

“I just found the help very helpful,” she said. “It was great.”

The disaster recovery center is at 30 West Mechanic St. in Cape May Court House.

The center is open until further notice from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m.to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

For FEMA assistance, call (800) 621-3362 or see www.fema.gov/apply-assistance. 

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