Westchester residents and business owners will have until Jan. 28 to file for federal assistance for damages associated with Hurricane Sandy under an extension announced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
County Executive Robert P. Astorino was informed that FEMA and New York State had agreed to extend the initial Dec. 31 deadline to give people impacted by the storm additional time to file claims and loan applications.
Residents and business owners who want to meet with FEMA representatives in person may continue to do so until Dec. 21 at the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) at the Westchester County Center, 198 Central Avenue, White Plains. The center is open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
An in-person visit is not necessary to apply for assistance but is offered as an option for those who prefer to do so. More than 750 persons have come to the DRC since it opened Nov. 8.
“I encourage any homeowner, renter or business owner who suffered damages and losses as a result of Hurricane Sandy to register with FEMA and seek assistance,” Astorino said. “The new filing deadline means that people will now be able to do so beyond the end of the year.”
Federal disaster assistance for individuals and families can include money for rental assistance, essential home repairs, personal property losses and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.
With Westchester being declared a disaster area by President Obama, residents are eligible to apply for disaster aid, along with local governments and non-profit agencies. The first step is to register by calling FEMA's registration number (800) 621-3362 or going to www.disasterassistance.gov. For those with speech or hearing disabilities, use the TTY number at (800) 462-7585.
In addition to FEMA, members of the Department of Social Services and other county departments remain on hand at the DRC to help residents. There also are representatives from the Small Business Administration, who can explain 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 may 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.
Almost 5,200 Westchester residents have registered to seek assistance from FEMA in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Hurricane Sandy caused more than $42 million in damages to county-owned facilities alone. It also damaged public infrastructure and private property in every municipality in the county. Westchester and its municipalities are eligible to seek federal reimbursement for damages and other costs associated with the storm.