Many people in Ocean County don't know much about O.C.E.A.N. Inc. And Executive Director Theodore Gooding wants to change that.
"We do a lot of things for folks that are free if they are income eligible," Gooding said at a recent Superstorm Sandy informational session organized by Berkeley Township officials and held at the Berkeley Township Elementary School.
He also wants residents to know that O.C.E.A.N. Inc. (Ocean Community Economic Action Now) can help storm victims who meet the income guidelines through the O.C.E.A.N., Inc. Community Partners Outreach and Relief Recovery Fund, along with a number of other programs.
"There were $191 million in uninsured losses in Ocean County," Gooding said at a recent Superstorm Sandy information session sponsored by Berkeley Township at the Berkeley Township Elementary School.
"That's a lot," he said. "There's a gap that has to be filled. We are losing people every day. We need to get them back in their homes."
He urged residents to fill out applications for assistance.
"If you need a check, I can write it tonight," Gooding said at the informational seminar. "We need to make it happen. I'm disappointed in the number of applications that are not coming in."
The anti-poverty agency - which also runs the Head Start and weatherization programs in Ocean County - has about $1 million to spending on heating assistance, thanks to a grant from the state Department of Community Affairs, he said.
O.C.E.A.N., Inc. provides services to residents who are at 100 percent to 225 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. The income thresholds range from $22,340 for one person; $46,100 for a family of four to $77,780 for a family of eight.
Residents who need assistance with heating should contact O.C.E.A.N. Inc.s' weatherization department at 22 Hyers Street, Toms River, NJ, or call 732-244-8176.
• Application for Superstorm Sandy assistance can be obtained at the following address:
O.C.E.A.N., Inc. Community Partners Outreach and Recovery Fund
22 Hyers Street; P.O. Box 1029
Toms River, NJ 08754-1029
For more information, contact Tina Clark at (732) 244-2351, Ext. 20. O.C.E.A.N. Inc. hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.