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2 New FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers In New Jersey

MANVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Two new Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster recovery centers opened Thursday in New Jersey to help those who suffered damage from Ida.

In Somerset County, FEMA is setting up at the North End Volunteer Fire Company No. 3 in Manville, where debris clean-up continues two weeks after the storm.

Basements were completely flooded out and many first floors had more than four feet of water, leaving homeowners no choice but to gut their homes.

"They put me from FEMA to another assistance for my damages and my concerns of mold in the basement ... and they took me to the loan department," she told CBS2's Meg Baker.

"They are able to register and receive up to $36,000, but they have to be eligible and they have to be in an area that has been declared," FEMA representative Jovanna Garcia said.

"I thought it was extremely organized," Manville resident Catherine Zei said.

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Rental assistance is available, as well as temporary housing.

You need to bring your ID, your mortgage information or lease and documentation of damage.

The Taylors cannot go back to their Somerville apartment yet.

"Because the water came up, in fact, it came up to about [chest level]," Fixice Taylor said. "It was like we were in Noah's ark."

"I have to hang in there with my husband. The only thing is I want my apartment back. I want a place where I can go cook," Susan Taylor said.

They said sitting with a representative was a good start but daunting.

"It's a little difficult navigating all of this different paperwork. You can't do it from home," Fixice Taylor said.

Residents say the most frustrating thing is the waiting game with insurance and FEMA because right now, they can't wait; they need to fix their homes to make them livable once again.

"The electric box went under, and my main concern is when I turn lights on, everything's flickering upstairs ... Just be careful, get this done quickly because it's a fire hazard," Franzoso said.

"If you start rebuilding or fixing your home, make sure you keep the receipts so that you can provide that to FEMA," Garcia said.

Meanwhile, Union County residents can apply for help at the Elizabeth O'Donnell Dempsey Senior Community Center in Elizabeth.

Other disaster recovery centers opened earlier this week in Bergen, Hunterdon and Mercer counties.

Click here to apply for disaster assistance or call 800-621-3362.

Residents can sign up with FEMA online, but due to the amount of paperwork, they are encouraging people to come in person. They're open 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

After signing up, an inspector will be assigned to come to your property.

CBS2's Meg Baker contributed to this report.

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