October 11, 2011

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Disaster Recovery Center Set to Open in Oneida County This Week

This Week, FEMA Will Open A Disaster Center To Help Individuals & Business Owners Access FEMA Aid To Help In Rebuilding Efforts

Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced that a new state and federal Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) will open this week in Oneida County on Thursday, October 13th. The DRC will assist individuals, households and businesses affected by Tropical Storm Lee and the subsequent flooding. Operating hours will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, closed Sundays.

“This disaster recovery center is a critical step in helping residents and business owners in Oneida County get the FEMA assistance they need and deserve,” said Schumer. “Our communities shouldn’t be left to shoulder this massive burden alone. I strongly encourage homeowners and business owners to visit these disaster relief centers so that they can find out exactly how FEMA can help.”

“Families in the Mohawk Valley are losing their homes, businesses and livelihood in the wake of this devastating storm, and need relief,” Senator Gillibrand said. “This Disaster Recovery Center will help provide a lifeline for families, and help put more of the resources we need on the ground. I will keep working to secure every federal resource we need here to recover.”

The disaster recovery center will be located at:

Oneida County

Fire Department, 171 Oriskany Boulevard, in Whitesboro

The centers will be staffed with disaster-recovery specialists who can provide information and answer questions about storm-related assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) strongly recommends that persons adversely affected by Tropical Storm Lee register before visiting a DRC. By phone, call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. The toll-free line is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET, seven days a week until further notice. People with speech disabilities can use the TTY number, 800-462-7585. Applicants can also register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or with any web-enabled mobile device or smartphone at m.fema.gov. Follow the link to "apply online for federal assistance."

Information needed when registering with FEMA includes the address of the damaged property, names of those living in the household, a general description of the damage, the Social Security number of any family member living in the home, the extent of insurance coverage and certain other information needed to expedite the process.

New York state agencies will join FEMA to provide services to the public at the centers. These include, but are not limited to, information about state disaster aid and help for unemployed persons and displaced workers as the result of the storm; information for senior citizens about state-funded programs; access to forms and services pertaining to motor vehicle issues; coordination and assistance with any needs for daycare services; and access to MyBenefits pre-screening tool. Representatives of these and other agencies will participate as determined by need.

Also on hand at the Disaster Recovery Center will be specialists from the Small Business Administration (SBA) who can explain the low-interest loan packages available to individuals, nonprofits and businesses of any size. These loans are for the repair or replacement of real estate and/or personal property damaged by the storm and related flooding, officials said.  People who register with FEMA will be sent a loan application from the SBA. No one is obligated to take out a loan, according to the SBA. Applicants have six months after approval to decide whether to accept the loan.

FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for transportation, medical and dental, and funeral expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. Applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement and moving and storage expenses.