More Than $56 Million Approved For Disaster Aid

James L. Seward

August 07, 2006

Senator James L. Seward said today that state and federal officials report that more than $56 million in disaster assistance has been approved for New Yorkers affected by the June flooding.

More than 11,300 persons have registered for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designed to assist flood victims with temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related needs as they begin rebuilding their lives. More than $18.3 million has been approved for housing, and more than $4 million has been approved for serious disaster-related needs.

Some New York flood victims may not know that they have flood insurance! Persons who sustained damage in the New York floods in 2004 and 2005 and received a grant for lost personal property under the Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program may have received a policy under FEMA’s Group Flood Insurance Program. New Yorkers who were affected by this past June’s flooding should call the National Flood Insurance Program at 1-800-427-4661 to find out if they have flood insurance.

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) urges individuals, displaced by the flooding, to fill out change-of-address forms, which can be obtained from any post office or mail carrier. Mail service will resume in only a day or two after the form has been submitted.

Applicants for disaster assistance who receive a letter from FEMA saying their application for disaster assistance has been denied should not despair. The letter is not necessarily the final word. It could just mean that FEMA doesn’t have all the information it needs to make a decision. FEMA urges applicants to submit insurance information, submit proof of occupancy or ownership of damaged property, fill out all paperwork, and complete and return the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan application. Those who qualify for SBA loans don’t have to take them, but it is important to submit the application. The information supplied on the form could qualify the applicant for additional aid.

For additional information, call FEMA’s help line: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY: 1-800-462-7585.

To date, the SBA has issued more than 10,000 applications for low-interest loans to individuals and businesses and has approved $33.8 million. The SBA is the federal government’s primary resource for long-term disaster recovery financing. Through its disaster loan program, SBA provides affordable and timely financial assistance to homeowners, renters and businesses that experience otherwise uncompensated damages and losses in the declared counties.