This morning, the President convened a call with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Chief of Staff Jack Lew, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security John Brennan, and other senior members of his team to receive an update on federal efforts to support ongoing response and recovery efforts. The President also received an update on the severe weather forecasted to impact the affected region in the coming days. He expressed his concern for people in the region who are vulnerable to the harsh weather conditions that are forecast for tomorrow and Thursday and was updated on efforts by FEMA to continue to provide necessary resources for potentially impacted communities, including bottled water, meals, blankets, and other commodities ahead of the storm.
The President reiterated his direction to continue to provide every available resource to support state and local and partners, including efforts to confront fuel challenges facing communities and ongoing power restoration efforts, as well as any support that can be provided ahead of the potential severe weather. On the call, the President and his team also discussed the support FEMA, HUD, and other federal partners are providing to the Governors in their effort to find long-term housing solutions for survivors whose homes have been damaged. At the requests of New Jersey and New York, FEMA continues to administer its Transitional Sheltering Assistance program - temporarily providing hotel and motel rooms to eligible individuals.
As of this morning, more than 263,000 individuals have applied for assistance with FEMA, and more than $240 million has been approved in housing and other types of direct assistance to individuals. Yesterday, Secretary Napolitano approved additional assistance to the states of Connecticut, New Jersey and New York to support debris removal efforts, a top priority that will also help expedite power restoration and other recovery efforts.
Today, Secretary Napolitano is traveling to Nassau County, N.Y., to meet with state and local officials, including Senator Charles Schumer, Congressman Peter King and Congressman Steve Israel, and view ongoing response and recovery efforts to Hurricane Sandy.