The Disaster Recovery Center set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at Piermont Village Hall will be open for its last day to assist residents tomorrow. The center at 478 Piermont Ave will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1. For the coming week, residents and business owners with damage from Hurricane Sandy have the option of going to Pomona to FEMA’s second Disaster Recovery Center at Provide Bank Park. That center staffed by a 20-person team will remain operational through Friday, Dec. 7.
Rocklanders can apply for disaster assistance at Provident Bank Park in Pomona in the second floor Community Room from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1 and 2. From Monday, Dec. 3 through Friday, Dec. 7, the center will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. After that date, FEMA representatives will be stationed at the Rockland County Fire Training Center in Pomona from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist residents. However, appointments will have to be made ahead of time by calling 845-364-8800.
Rockland Fire & Emergency Services Program Coordinator Chris Jensen advised people to register this week and take advantage of being able to register a claim, check the status of their registration and speak with representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration about low-interest loans for homeowners, renters and businesses. Residents can also register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA or visiting www.disasterassistance.gov.
“If they haven’t registered, they need to get there,” he said.
Jensen also cautioned people who already received responses to review the materials.
“Read the correspondence, you’re getting thoroughly so you don’t miss anything,” he recommended.
Jensen said sometimes people are losing out on funding or assistance because they only look at the first paragraph. He spoke about one resident who was denied a loan but did not read on to find out they had received an $11,000 grant. He related the story of a Stony Point resident who had property damage from Hurricane Irene last year and was offered three years of free flood insurance by the federal government. However, since the resident had not read that section, he did not act on the offer and now is ineligible for aid from Hurricane Sandy destruction.
“We’ve had many residents apply in person for disaster assistance, but we want to make sure that we reach everyone who is eligible,“ said Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef. “Residents who have already applied and received letters stating they are ineligible for assistance can also stop by and ask questions. FEMA officials have told us that these residents may just have to sign paperwork or complete more forms to become eligible.”
Jensen said the number of people seeking assistance has decreased over the past seven to 10 days but the number who have applied is about equal to those signing up after Hurricane Irene.
“Total registration in the county for individual assistance is 2,856,” he said. “Of that number approximately 1,800 have received some sort of assistance from FEMA.”
He said about $1.8 million in aid has been dispersed across the county. The number of applicants varied from 250 in Stony Point, 239 in Nyack and 173 in Piermont to 136 in Suffern and a high of 653 in Spring Valley.
Jensen said the damage to the county’s public infrastructure and emergency costs is estimated at $15 million.