WASHINGTON (AP) – Residents of New Jersey and New York who are in shelters and cannot return to their homes due to storm damage may be able to stay in hotels or motels until more suitable accommodations are available under a federal program, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Saturday.

The agency activated its Transitional Sheltering Assistance program at the request of the two states. Individuals and households staying in a shelter may be eligible for the program if they register with FEMA for assistance, can verify their identity, and their primary residence is in an area designated for the program and occupancy can be verified.

The program will not reimburse applicants for previously incurred hotel expenses and will not cover meals or lodging costs above an authorized allowance.

FEMA said it is also providing grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover.

People who sustained losses in designated counties in New York and New Jersey should register with FEMA (800) 621-3362 or visit http://www.disasterassistance.gov

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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