The six Disaster Recovery Centers established between May 2 and June 18 helped 1,316 New Yorkers begin recovering from early April’s storms and floods that left thousands with damaged homes and businesses and prompted a presidential disaster declaration.
The joint State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) centers were set up in the hardest hit counties of Broome, Cortland, Delaware, Orange, Tioga and Ulster following the April 19 declaration.
The centers provided individuals who had registered for state and federal aid a place where they could meet with program experts for answers to disaster related questions and receive help in tracking their individual registration process.
Of the major areas of concern, more than 916 individuals received help with housing; 708 registrants met with loan officers from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to have questions answered or received assistance filling out their SBA loan application, and 409 people met with hazard mitigation specialists for information on how to make their residence or business safer from possible future disasters. Many of the victims had multiple problems.
In addition to the FEMA and SBA experts, many federal, state and local agencies assisted visitors. Among them were the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, state insurance representatives, agents from the Internal Revenue Service, the American Red Cross and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program.
While the last centers closed June 18, assistance with disaster recovery issues is just a phone call away. The FEMA Helpline is available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday. Operators can assist with application status questions, change of information, such as a new telephone or address or other issues. The number is 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY, 1-800-462-7585, and select the helpline option.
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