News Article

Grant Will Fund Post-Sandy Crisis Counseling

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. May 16, 2013

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A federal grant will be used to provide emotional support for New Jersey residents still struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy.

The $11.5 million grant from FEMA will allow the New Jersey Hope and Healing Program to offer counseling and outreach services to Sandy survivors for the next nine months.

Adrienne Fessler Belli is the director of the Department of Human Service's disaster branch. She says residents still wondering if they'll be able to rebuild their homes can become anxious and develop a feeling of hopelessness.

 "People can develop physical symptoms from not sleeping and not eating correctly because they are so stressed. If they're feeling depressed, it's a total disruption in their life they just can't do what they feel they need to do, we do hook them up to clinical services."

Belli says about a hundred counselors will be going door-to-door to offer assistance to residents trying to cope with their storm losses.

"They don't have to go it alone because it can feel very isolating when you see other parts of the state that aren't impacted and going on it can feel like, oh, why is this happening to me and does someone understand what I'm going through?"

The Hope and Healing Program helpline can be reached by calling 1-877-294-4357

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