Applying for Sandy help is time-consuming, complicated, N.J. business owners say

During visits to the Jersey Shore last week, Gov. Chris Christie has been urging business owners to apply for grants to help them recover from Superstorm Sandy. 

Some small-business owners say demand for the grants would be higher if the process of getting one weren’t so daunting.

Kristen Scalia owns Kanibal Home, a women’s apparel and home goods store in Jersey City. She says flooding from Sandy caused more than $50,000 in damage.

She filed the paperwork to get a grant, but four weeks later she hasn’t heard from the representative who was assigned to help her.

“I finally make a couple of phone calls, found out that person wasn’t there any longer, they were no longer answering their emails,” Scalia said. “I got forwarded along to someone else who is away on vacation. I called back again after a week, there’s still been nothing, and that’s where I am right now.”

Sandy flooded Jason Morris’ photography business in Forked River. Morris, who said the grant application is difficult to understand, wonders if he’ll get any money after spending more than $2,000 for an accountant to help him fill out all the forms.

The $260 million Stronger NJ Business Grant and $100 million Stronger NJ Business Loan programs are offered by the Economic Development Authority.

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