Check back with Patch later today for an update from the SBA (small business administration)
Steve Ward, FEMA Branch III director, announced on Wednesday that $2.1 million in FEMA disaster assistance has been distributed to 326 Rocklanders to use for rent, repairs or other needs. As of Tuesday evening, 2,932 additional Rockland applications for assistance are still pending.
The deadline to apply for assistance has been extended from Dec. 1 to Dec. 31.
Rockland Executive Scott Vanderhoef met with several disaster assistance representatives on Wednesday for an update on the status of reimbursements to residents and businesses in the county.
“The number of residents that have actually received FEMA grants is low based on our historic trends,” said Ward. He added that the number is low because “it’s still early. The registration period goes through Dec. 31. Individuals and families have up to 12 months after they register to complete the application.”
FEMA will start a call-out program to families that have registered but not completed their applications. He added that delays in the process is mostly due to paperwork that may have been lost or damaged during the storm and it takes time to get additional copies of documents such as proof of ownership or social security cards.
“There have been six families in Rockland that have received the maximum grant, which is as much as FEMA is able to provide,” said Ward. Congress set the ceiling on those grants at $32,000. “We in the field have not been given any restrictions on our ability to help residents of New York.”
Ward stressed that Rocklanders who have received letters stating that they are “ineligible” for disaster assistance should reread the entire letter because they may just need to complete additional paperwork to receive assistance. In some cases, just one piece of paperwork is all that is needed to change a person's ineligibility status to being approved for some aid.
“If you’re getting the run-around, please to go to a DRC,” he added.
The Rockland Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) will be closing at Provident Bank Park in Pomona on Friday, but FEMA representatives will be at the Fire Training Center in Pomona until Dec. 31
If you’re determined to be ineligible, you can go back and contest that because it could just be some missing paperwork.
Ward added that five families who were impacted by Irene and Lee did not fully read the packet that was given to them after that disaster and did not sign the acceptance of the National insurance program. FEMA buys three years of that flood insurance program for the residents that have been impacted and received a grant. “Because of that, they’re ineligible for FEMA assistance in subsequent disasters. Luckily the county of Rockland under (Jensen’s assistance) has been about to assist those families but it is very important that the individuals that received a FEMA grant go through that packet.”
We’ve begun to have discussions on the public assistance program. The PAP reimburses local municipalities and private nonprofits for damages they have incurred as a result of the disaster.
We started kick-off meetings, which are 1-on-1 meetings, with municipalities. We believe that the majority of damages will be debris or emergency protective measures and those can be reimbursed very quickly because you’ve already spent that money.
Jobs for Locals
A local hire program will begin in which 40 percent of FEMA representatives will be replaced by local hires.
“We’ll go out into the local communities and find various individuals to work full-time for FEMA during the duration of the disaster recovery. Areas that we’re looking at primarily in this area would be:”
- information technology
- executive specialist
- data processors
“Those are local jobs and will put money back into the local economy."
Where to Apply
The Rockland Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) will be closing at Provident Bank Park in Pomona on Friday, but FEMA representatives will be at the Fire Training Center at 35 Firemens Memorial Drive, Pomona until Dec. 31
Open 9 - 5 p.m. M - F, but call first to make an appointment 845 364 8800
Residents can also apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
To apply for SBA loans, first register with FEMA at the website or number listed above. Then visitDisasterLoan.sba.gov/ela or call 1-800-659-2955.