Businesses damaged by Sandy may get new chance to seek federal help

assetContent (9)WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives voted Monday to allow businesses damaged by Hurricane Sandy to again seek federal disaster loans. The legislation to reopen the application process was passed by voice vote in response to reports of delays in the Small Business Administration loan process, where the agency was overwhelmed by requests for assistance… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: July 14th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County News, New Jersey, Small Business Administration, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Businesses damaged by Sandy may get new chance to seek federal help

Support Chilango’s Rebuilding

photo credit: MireyPosada.blogspot.com

photo credit: MireyPosada.blogspot.com

When the waters of Superstorm Sandy receded from Highlands, Leo Cervantes and his staff at Chilango’s recovered the non-spoiled inventory from their destroyed Bay Avenue restaurant and invited the entire town to a free dinner that they prepared and served at Henry Hudson Regional High School which was serving as a shelter for hundreds of residents displaced by the storm.

His business was destroyed, but his home was spared by Sandy. Yet, for weeks after the storm, Cervantes continued to prepare meals for his friends and neighbors in the Henry Hudson shelter.

Leo left the poverty of Neza, a tough town outside of Mexico City in 1989, settling first in Asbury Park with his brother who had come a few years before.  He got a job washing dishes at the Cypress Inn in Wanamassa.  Before long he was working days for a landscaper and nights at the restaurant.

When the Cypress Inn closed, Leo went to work at The Shadowbrook.  Owner Richard Zweben sponsored Leo for his green card.

With $1000 and a note held by the seller, Leo opened Chilango’s Long Branch in 1999.  The four table restaurant thrived on take-out sold mostly to fellow hispanics who appreciated the authentic Mexican cuisine…the way real Mexican food should taste.

Three years later, Leo bought a building on Bay Ave in Highlands and open Chilango’s as an authentic Mexican restaurant and Tequila bar.  Quickly, Chilango’s became a local and regional favorite.  As his business grew, Leo became an important contributing member of the community with his constant support of civic organizations, the Highlands Businss Partnership and he served a term on the Zoning Board.

Leo became a natualized U.S. Citizen in 2008.

Chilango’s was written up in The New York Times in 2011.

Now, four months after Sandy hit, Leo’s bank account is about back to where it was when he opened in Long Branch in 1999. He is caught in the red tape of the SBA and his insurance company, both of whom are asking him to resubmit information he’s already submitted multiple times.   Windnsea and Shadowbrook have both hosted Chilango’s Nights since the storm which were a help in holding over and raising some money for rebuidling, but not enough.  Leo’s spent almost all of his savings on rebuilding, but he’s coming up short.

But he doesn’t want a handout.  Leo’s goal is to raise $50,000 by selling gift certificates redeemable for Mexican food the way it should taste when Chilango’s reopens.  He can be open in a matter of weeks.

Certificates can be purchased through the link below, and/or stop by the tent Leo will have set up in his parking lot to serve Irish Burritos  next Saturday at the Highlands St. Patrick’s Parade.

Your emailed receipt for your “donation” will be your gift certificate.  Bring it with you to apply to your check when you dine at the re-opened Chilango’s.



Posted: March 17th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Highlands, Hurricane Sandy, Small Business Administration, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

Governor Christie Announces 30 Day Extension Of Deadline To Register For Sandy Assistance

New April 1 Deadline Allows Additional Time for Residents to Register for FEMA Assistance 

Trenton, NJ –The Christie Administration announced today that New Jersey residents impacted by Superstorm Sandy now have until April 1, 2013 to register for individual disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The deadline extension applies for homeowner, renter, and business registration with the Small Business Administration (SBA) for Disaster Loan Assistance, another important step in the disaster relief process to ensure survivors obtain all relief they are eligible for.


“This 30-day extension will help us ensure that anyone who has been affected by Sandy gets the help they need and deserve,” said Governor Christie. “It’s vitally important for people to know that the process of receiving any type of federal disaster assistance – including future grant assistance for homeowners and businesses – begins with registering as a disaster survivor with FEMA and working with a coordinator to determine eligibility for relief. I encourage those who have not yet registered with FEMA and SBA to do so now to get the relief they are entitled to and to ensure their eligibility for any future relief we can offer.”

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Posted: February 28th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Christie Administration, FEMA, Hurricane Sandy, Press Release, SBA loans, Small Business Administration, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Christie Administration Encourages Insured Residents Affected by Hurricane Sandy to Apply for Assistance

Insured Applicants May Be Eligible for Assistance for Unmet Needs

Trenton, NJ –Disaster assistance may sometimes cover damages that insurance doesn’t. That is why individuals affected by Hurricane Sandy are urged by the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to apply for assistance even if they have insurance.


Apply for FEMA assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, or by web-enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov. Applicants can also register by phone by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), 711/VRS, or TTY 1-800-462-7585.


Only applying directly with FEMA will establish your registration for disaster assistance. Signing up or meeting with any other agency does not mean you are registered with FEMA.


“We want everyone qualified for assistance to receive help as soon as possible,”said State Coordinating Officer Lt. Jeff Mottley.


Keep in mind that you need to file your insurance claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. Failure to file a claim may affect a policyholder’s eligibility for disaster assistance. You have up to 12 months from the date of registration with FEMA to submit insurance information for review.


“By law, we cannot duplicate what insurance already covers. But we may be able to help with some disaster-related expenses, that are not covered by insurance,”explained Federal Coordinating Officer Michael J. Hall.


After filing a claim, if any of the following situations occurs FEMA may be able to provide some assistance:


Your insurance settlement is delayed.

  • “Delayed”means a decision on your insurance settlement has been delayed longer than 30-days from the time you filed the claim.
  • If a decision on your insurance settlement has been delayed, you will need to mail a letter or send a FAX to FEMA explaining the circumstance. Mail or FAX your letter to:


National Processing Service Center

PO Box 10055

Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055

FAX 1-800-827-8112

  • You should include documentation from the insurance company proving that you filed the claim.
  • If you filed your claim over the telephone, you should include the claim number,         date when you applied, and the estimated time of how long it will take to receive        your settlement.
  • If you receive FEMA assistance and you later find that your insurance will cover what your FEMA assistance was for, then you must return that money to FEMA because

it is considered a duplicate benefit.


Your insurance settlement is insufficient to meet your disaster-related needs.

  • If you have received the maximum settlement from your insurance and still have an unmet disaster-related need, you will need to mail or FAX a letter to FEMA at the above address indicating the unmet disaster-related need.
  • You will also need to send in documentation from your insurance company on what they cover for review.


You have exhausted the Additional Living Expenses (ALE) provided by your insurance company.

  • If you have received the maximum settlement from your insurance for Additional Living Expenses and still need help with your disaster-related temporary housing need, mail or FAX a letter to FEMA at the above address indicating why you continue to have a temporary housing need.
  • You will also need to provide documentation to prove use of ALE from insurance,

and a permanent housing plan.


You are unable to locate rental resources in your area.

  • The FEMA Helpline has a list of rental resources in the disaster area.


SBA Loans


  • Many people who apply for disaster aid also receive an application for a low-interest disaster loan from the SBA. If you receive an application, be sure to fill it out and return it in order

to be considered for all forms of disaster assistance.


  • FEMA will process applications for housing assistance regardless of whether or not the applicant has applied for an SBA loan. Eligibility determinations for FEMA’s temporary housing assistance will not be held up because the applicant has or has not filled out an    SBA application.

  • You must complete an SBA loan application to be eligible for additional assistance under

the part of the FEMA program that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement,

and moving and storage expenses.


You can apply for an SBA disaster loan online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.



Posted: November 24th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Christie Administration, FEMA, Hurricane Sandy, Press Release, SBA loans, Small Business, Small Business Administration | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »