There isn’t a single person in Jersey City who hasn’t been affected by Hurricane Sandy. It struck a tremendous blow to our city and our state. My focus over the past two weeks has been squarely on looking out for the safety, security and well-being of all the people, businesses and families here in our city. Our Office of Emergency Management staff has literally been working around the clock and side-by-side with the Police Department, the Fire Department, the Department of Public Works, the Incinerator Authority, the Municipal Utilities Authority, the Parking Authority, and numerous other agencies to provide assistance during and in the aftermath of the hurricane.
Communications have been numerous, including several dozen emergency alert notifications, website updates, Facebook updates, tweets, and postings to other social media. Several press conferences were held and personal visits were made to affected communities who may not have had access to media. On Saturday, we held two Town Hall meetings with FEMA to provide information to residents who suffered damages about the process for receiving aid from the federal government. One of the most heartening moments during this disaster was when on President Barack Obama called me during the height of the storm to tell me that the federal government would do all that it could do to help our city. A couple days after the storm, President Obama sent representatives to Jersey City to survey the damage, and FEMA representatives have been here since, working out of the command center at OEM.
FEMA has opened a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) at 350 Montgomery Street for residents open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and a Business Recovery Center has been opened by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) at NJCU, 285West Side Avenue, Suites 189-191, open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We are also holding a special town hall meeting at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at City Hall for business owners affected by Hurricane Sandy. If you’ve been affected, I hope you can join us to find out what resources are available to you as a business owner. There is no need to RSVP for the meeting.
Today we observe Veterans Day. And just as we take a moment to thank those who have put our country first and risked their lives to protect our America and the freedoms our country represents, I want to give a special thanks to those police officers, firefighters and first responders who put our city first these past few weeks. Many of them lost their own homes or suffered serious property damage and days without power, yet they responded to the call for assistance from the community. There are still pockets of our community without power and residents who are struggling without heat, hot water, or the ability to live at home. Many are cleaning out and demolishing parts of their homes. Thousands have lost items precious to them and their families. We ask you to also think of them today. We are a strong Jersey City and together we will come back even stronger. Anyone who needs assistance or has any questions, can contact the Mayor’s Action Bureau at (201) 547-4900.These past few weeks we have seen so many neighbors stepping up to help other neighbors during these trying times, which has only reinforced my love and concern for our great city and all of our great citizens. It is a testament to our Jersey City community and the people who live here. I have visited every neighborhood in our city and have heard from so many of you, and just wanted to take this opportunity tell you how truly inspired I am by the will and humanity of our people.