Dec-03-12 Governor Christie Awards Essex County Emergency Clean-up Funds in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy
Essex County was awarded an initial installment of $420,957 to hire 105 people to begin restoring Essex County in the wake of the storm. More funding will be released by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which has received $5.1 million of the national emergency grant and requested last week that the U.S. Department of Labor release the remainder of the National Emergency Grant.
“Before Hurricane Sandy’s surge receded from the Jersey Shore, my staff was busy at work obtaining the $15.6 million National Emergency Grant that brings us together today. The intent of the funding is to allow government agencies to hire unemployed people to help the state, counties and towns in their clean-up efforts,” said Commissioner Wirths during a press conference held in the city earlier today.
“Through the grant, we’ve already put nearly 100 people to work on the recovery effort and we have government agencies requesting to put another 1,300 workers on the streets in 16 counties. We are prepared to secure additional federal funding if needed to get the job done,” he added.
The funding in Essex County is going to municipalities and government agencies to create temporary jobs to assist with the clean-up following Hurricane Sandy or to help with humanitarian assistance for victims. Essex County is prepared to hire 105 people and already has 75 workers enlisted to begin this week. Some attended the press conference.
“Hurricane Sandy was one of the most devastating natural disasters to hit Essex County in our lifetime. The destruction can be seen throughout our neighborhoods, in our parks and through our business community and cannot be easily reversed,” Essex County Executive DiVincenzo said.
“This emergency grant funding will create much-needed temporary jobs to help with cleanup efforts and relief work. We are pleased that during these difficult economic times we have the ability to utilize these grant funds to employ people and have them engaged on projects that will help stabilize our neighborhoods,” he added.
Grants have been awarded to Belleville, Bloomfield, Caldwell, Fairfield, Irvington, Livingston, Nutley, East Orange, Orange the East Orange Water Commission and Essex County Government. The City of Newark will be receiving a separate grant of $185,221 beyond the funds issued to Essex County to bring on another 45 workers in the clean-up effort.
The grant may be utilized to provide temporary employment for individuals working on projects for the cleanup, demolition, repair, renovation and reconstruction of damaged public structures, facilities and lands. Temporary jobs may also be created for those working on projects that provide food, clothing, shelter and other humanitarian assistance for disaster victims.
The following Essex County municipalities and government agencies, and the number of jobs being created by each, include: Belleville (6), Bloomfield (10), Caldwell (2), Fairfield (4), Irvington (7), Livingston (3), Nutley (3), East Orange (15), East Orange Water Commission (20), Orange (6) and the County of Essex (29).
Individuals eligible to participate in the National Emergency Grant Disaster projects must meet one of the following criteria:
- Workers who have been temporarily or permanently dislocated as a result of the natural disaster.
- Eligible dislocated workers as defined in WIA Section 101(9) who are unemployed and are not receiving unemployment compensation (UI) or other types of income support, including WorkFirst New Jersey.
- “Long-termed unemployed as defined by the State,” meaning they have been unemployed for 13 of the last 26 weeks (the weeks do not have to be consecutive) and are not otherwise eligible in the first two categories.
Individuals receiving assistance cannot be employed for more than six (6) months or 1,040 hours. Participants must be paid the higher of Federal, State or local minimum wage or the comparable rates of pay for individuals employed in similar occupations. The maximum amount that can be earned by a participant is $12,000, excluding the cost of fringe benefits.
Commissioner Harold J. Wirths joined Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. in announcing
that several Essex County towns and government agencies will share in a $15.6 million federal National
Emergency Grant. Standing around the two officials (pictured center left) are many of the people hired with
the funds in Essex County to begin the post-Hurricane Sandy clean-up.