Tag Archives: FEMA

Forums focus on frustrations after Sandy


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

BY MAGGIE HAYES AND TERENCE M. CULLEN

Nearly a month after Superstorm Sandy tore through south Queens, tens of thousands of residents are still struggling to restore their lives.

Councilmember James Sanders and Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder held separate forums with area residents, featuring representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), Con Edison and National Grid, seeking answers as to when their towns would be able to get back on their feet.

“I want firm dates,” said Sanders before his meeting at Public School 104. “I want to know when we will be made whole. I want to know when we’ll be back.”

As of the meeting, held on Tuesday, November 20, more than 15,000 people were still without power, according to LIPA.

LIPA representative Tom Smith stressed that utility workers have been in the area around the clock, working to repair electrical grids to get power back up and running. But the problem lies with the fact that many electrical grids were completely submerged under water during the storm, and making sure they are completely repaired has become a safety concern.

“We recognize it’s a bad situation,” said Smith. “But we’re not looking to exacerbate it by creating a fire hazard in your home.”

That same Tuesday night, Goldfeder, along with State Senator Joseph Addabbo, held their own forum at P.S. 146 in Howard Beach, where residents from the neighborhood and Broad Channel were vocal about some of the problems they still faced.

Many were irate, often yelling about response times, or walking out after hearing an unsatisfactory answer from officials.

“If I wasn’t the one standing in the front of the room,” Goldfeder said, “I would have been screaming just as loud because I’m equally as frustrated with the way things have gone over the last three weeks. I think what happened, people got a lot of answers, but not necessarily the answers they wanted or liked.”

Gary Robertson said his two homes in Hamilton Beach had lost power and he was forced to use generators to keep things running. He hired a licensed electrician to repair the homes, but was still awaiting Con Ed to come and install a new meter in one.

Robertson is most upset that he was told he would not receive reimbursement for the gallons of gas he poured into his generator, because, he said, he was told the outages were storm-related and not a direct outage by Con Ed.

“You spend all this money on everything else, you can’t get any answers,” he said. “I got answers basically from one representative that I saw and an electrician that I saw on my block.”

Another big concern for residents is with FEMA’s response time and communication.

Far Rockaway homeowner Cadim Ally has been working since the storm to repair the extensive damages to his properties – while at the same time cutting his losses.

Ally lives in one home in the area and rents out another. Both received significant water damage: Ally’s basement flooded and 13 inches of water rose above his first floor. Both houses were evaluated by FEMA.

“[My renter] had no home insurance, so they gave him a check for $9,500. He took the money, he’s gone,” said Ally.

When FEMA assessed the damages to his own home, because he is a homeowner, he was told to go through the Small Business Association to apply for loans. He did so, filling out all of the necessary paperwork, and after 10 days finally received an inspection. A loan officer will now re-evaluate Ally’s situation, and will either approve or decline his loan request. If he is denied, he will have to go back to FEMA and start his process over again.

“I’m actually sitting around every day, just waiting to hear. I don’t know what’s going on,” said Ally. “I’m filling out every piece of paperwork. I’m at a standstill.”

The need for a FEMA station in Howard Beach – and not just Broad Channel, where some cannot travel – was something Addabbo said came out of the P.S. 146 meeting. As a result, he and his colleagues are working to get an accessible FEMA center in the neighborhood.

“We got a commitment from FEMA, [we’re] just figuring out days and places,” said Addabbo.

Power is slowly being restored to the disaster areas, and residents are still doing the best they can do return to normalcy.

“We survived the storm. This was that 100-year storm,” said Sanders. “But can we do more? God willing, we can.”

Bloomberg requests Sandy aid to cover $19B in losses storm cost city


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

NYC mayor's office Flickr /Photo by Kristen Artz

In a letter sent to members of the New York State Congressional Delegation today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg asked for $9.8 billion in Federal aid to help the city rebuild after Superstorm Sandy.

That number was calculated from the estimated $19 billion cost of private and public losses to the city, minus a $5.4 billion FEMA reimbursement and $3.8 billion in private insurance.

“This funding will be needed to address the significant local expenses that have been and will be incurred, including costs that are ineligible under FEMA such as hazard mitigation, long-term housing solutions, and shoreline restoration and protection,” Bloomberg said in the letter, which was publically released on Monday, November 26.

The letter also included an outline of the estimated losses the city suffered because of Sandy (numbers are in billions):

Chart courtesy of mikebloomberg.com

1. Numbers in table may not sum due to rounding.
2. Calculated as New York City’s share of high-end overall U.S. insured loss estimates from multiple insurance and risk management companies (Eqecat, AIR Worldwide, Dowling & Partners, Hiscox, Endurance, Willis, QBE, and RMS). New York City’s share was estimated with AIR Worldwide county-level data for NYC boroughs, as a share of AIR’s total estimated U.S. losses.
3. Estimated 125% for uninsured losses (as a share of insured losses); derived from estimates of past storm data from Swiss Re’s report: “Sigma: Natural Catastrophes and Man-Made Disasters in 2011.”
4. Estimates from the New York City Office of Management and Budget and the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
5. Asset Losses and Emergency Spending. Includes costs of clean-up by City agencies; a more detailed breakdown was not available from individual agencies as of November 21, 2012.
6. Additional Cleanup Costs; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
7. Estimate from Moody’s Analytics.
8. Based on the standard projected FEMA share of 75% of eligible costs for major disasters. Subject to caps on the amount of assistance per individual household. Cleanup costs are estimated at a higher 90% rate based on communications with the New York City Office of Management and Budget.
9. Assumed 50/50 split of Private Uninsured Losses between residential and commercial. All disaster-related assistance to businesses is in the form of loans, so the commercial portion is excluded from the estimated 75% FEMA reimbursement share.

Sandy cleanup to put 5,000 unemployed New Yorkers back to work


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A $27 million dollar federal grant for New York State is expected to provide more than 5,000 unemployed New Yorkers with jobs helping with post-Sandy cleanup, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday.

The funds, which are provided by a National Emergency Grant and administrated by the State Department of Labor, will go to the areas hardest hit by the superstorm.

According to the governor, the work will include cleaning and repairing damaged property and public structures, and those hired will earn approximately $15 per hour to work short and long-term projects. Workers will also receive help finding their next job.

“This funding will not only provide young people and the unemployed with the opportunity to participate in cleaning up and rebuilding communities devastated by the storm, but it will provide valuable work experience and on-the-job training that can be useful in future careers,” said Cuomo.

On November 25, Cuomo also announced that the state, together with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), are going to launch a program to  replace FEMA workers, many of which are from outside the state, with up to 700 New Yorkers. These jobs will be full-time and temporary positions.

If you are interested in applying for a job under the National Emergency Grant, contact the Department of Labor at 1-888-4-NYSDOL (1-888-469-7365) or by visiting www.labor.ny.gov/sandyjobs. You can also visit your local Disaster Recovery Center or One-Stop Career Center. You must be unemployed to be eligible.

If you are interested in applying for a job with FEMA, visit Governor Cuomo’s Jobs Express website at www.labor.ny.gov/jobs/regional.shtm.

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Partly cloudy. High of 46. Winds from the West at 5 to 10 mph. Monday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then overcast with a chance of rain. Low of 36. Winds less than 5 mph. Chance of rain 50%.

EVENT of the DAY: Selections from “The Nutcracker” with the Ohman School of Ballet

Come to the Queens Library in Flushing for excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Christmas ballet “The Nutcracker,” performed in full costume by the Ohman School of Ballet. Dances that will be performed include “Marzipan,” “The Sugarplum Fairy,” “Waltz of the Flowers,” “Mechanical Soldier” and more. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Lowlife pigs robbed kids’ banks in Breezy Point

Sandy spared their children’s piggy banks. But some heartless crook did not. A Breezy Point, Queens, family still reeling from the superstorm returned home after Thanksgiving to find their ravaged bungalow ransacked. Read more: New York Daily News

Bronx man charged in Queens woman’s death

Police have charged a Bronx man with murder in connection to the death of a 22-year-old Queens woman who was unconscious in a parked car. Read more: Wall Street Journal

Damaged vacation homes not eligible for FEMA grants

Superstorm Sandy delivered the injury. Now comes the insult. Summer home owners, common in beach communities like the Rockaways, may be financially wiped out if they didn’t spring for pricey flood insurance because FEMA provides grants only for primary residences. Read more: New York Daily News

Cyber Monday likely to be busiest online sales day

Bye-bye Black Friday. So long Small Business Saturday. Now, it’s Cyber Monday’s turn. Read more: ABC New York

FEMA approves aver $664 million for Sandy recovery in New York state

The Federal Emergency Management Agency as of Sunday had approved more than $664 million to help New York state residents recover from Superstorm Sandy. Read more: CBS New York

LIRR, PATH and ferry service added

It’s getting a little easier to get to work in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Read more: Fox New York

Consumers to spend less if middle-class taxes rise: White House

A White House report says that if that Congress allows taxes to go up on middle-class families, consumers will spend $200 billion less in 2013. Read more: Reuters

Help getting back home after Sandy


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is answering Governor Andrew Cuomo’s call for prompt assistance for New Yorkers whose homes were affected by Superstorm Sandy.

FEMA will bring in contractors to disaster-stricken areas to perform basic repairs so homes can once again become livable, and residents can return while longer term repairs are in progress. However, only residents in federally declared devastated counties that are registered with FEMA are eligible to participate. To register, call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

“When Hurricane Sandy hit our state, New Yorkers saw their homes severely damaged or completely destroyed,” said Cuomo. “The FEMA assistance will make a big difference as we continue New York’s long term recovery.”

FEMA has developed a two-step approach to helping storm victims make these vital repairs. The Shelter and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) program will be implemented in conjunction with the Individuals and Households Program (IHP) to get residents in their homes, and keep them there.

“The solution is to get people back into their homes safely,” said Michael Byrne, FEMA federal coordinating officer.

The STEP Program is a new program, intended to provide temporary electrical measures and exterior repairs, which includes patching windows or exterior doors, tarp on the roof and minor electrical work – all necessary inspections for habitability. Homeowners can then use FEMA’s Individual Assistance to make permanent repairs.

Regarding financial assistance for these repairs, the IHP Program enables individuals to address expenses that cannot be met through other forms of insurance. Forms for housing assistance under this program include the temporary housing repair, replacement and semi-permanent/permanent construction that homeowners receive through the STEP program.

“Now it is time to restore and rebuild these homes, and help people get back in their homes in time for winter,” said Cuomo.

With fuel shortage, power outages, more Disaster Recovery Centers needed: Schumer


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

On Monday, Senator Chuck Schumer asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to open more Disaster Recovery Centers in New York City and Long Island.

The centers help residents apply for FEMA and other disaster assistance programs, but those in neighborhoods that were hit hard by Sandy have a difficult time getting to them and additional ones should be opened, said Schumer.

“These Disaster Recovery Centers are a useful resource to residents who need federal assistance but do not know how to go about applying for it,” said Schumer. “While touring neighborhoods across New York City and Queens, I heard time and time again that people do not have easy access to these important centers. Many of the residents, who are in need of this assistance, either do not have gas to drive to the DRC or do not have phone service to call FEMA and ask questions and that’s why today I am calling on FEMA to provide additional centers for New Yorkers.”

In New York City and Long Island there are 15 Disaster Recovery Centers, including two in Queens at Fort Tilden Park at Beach Channel Boulevard  and the Walbaums parking lot at 112-15 Beach Channel Drive between Beach 112th and Beach 113th.

Where to find help after Hurricane Sandy


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Food, Blanket and Water Distribution Locations in Queens (12 p.m. to 4 p.m.)

  • Redfern Playground between Beach 12th Street and Redfern Avenue Queens 12pm – 4pm
  • Hammel Playground between Beach 84th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard Queens 12pm – 4pm
  • Beach 41st Street Houses at Beach Channel Drive and Beach 40th Street Queens 12pm – 4pm
  • St. Francis De Sales Parish (129-16 Rockaway Beach Boulevard at Beach 129th Street) Queens 12pm – 4pm
  • Conch Playground at Beach Channel Drive and Beach 49th Street Queens 12pm – 4pm

Warming Stations in Queens (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

  • Alpha Phi Alpha Senior Citizens Center 220-01 Linden Blvd
  • Brooks Senior Center 143-22 109th Ave
  • Ccns Bayside Senior Center 221-15 Horace Harding Expy
  • Ccns Catherine Sheridan Senior Center 35-24 83rd St
  • Ccns Hillcrest Senior Center 168-01b Hillside Ave
  • Ccns Ozone Park Senior Center 103-02 101st Ave
  • Ccns Peter Dellamonica Senior Center 23-56 Broadway
  • Ccns Woodhaven Richmond Hill Sr. Ctr. 78-15 Jamaica Ave
  • Cpc Queens Nan Shan Senior Citizen Ctr 136-18 39th Ave
  • Elmcor Lefrak Senior Center 98-16 55th Ave
  • Elmcor Senior Center 98-19 Astoria Blvd
  • Florence E. Smith Senior Center 102-19 34th Ave
  • Forest Hills Senior Center 108-25 62nd Drive
  • Hanac College Point Senior Center 13-28 123rd St
  • Hanac Archbishop Iakovos Senior Center 32-06 21st St
  • Hanac Lindsay Jvl Senior Center 27-40 Hoyt Ave
  • Hanac Ravenswood Senior Center 34-35a 12th St
  • Ipr/He Corona Senior Center 108-74 Roosevelt Ave
  • Ipr/He Elmhurst Jackson Heights Sr Ctr 75-01 Broadway
  • Newtown Italian Senior Cneter 83-20 Queens Blvd
  • Jasa Brookdale Village Senior Center 131 Beach 19th St
  • Jasa Holliswood Senior Center 86-25 Francis Lewis Blvd
  • Jspoa Rockaway Blvd Senior Center 123-10 143 St
  • Korean American Senior Center – Corona 37-06 111th St
  • Korean American Senior Center – Flushing 42-15 166th St
  • Middle Village Senior Center 69-10 75th St
  • Peter Cardella Senior Center 68-52 Fresh Pond Rd
  • Pomonok Senior Center 67-09 Kissena Blvd
  • Queensbridge-Riis Senior Center 10-25 41st Ave
  • Raices Astoria Senior Center 21-21 30th Drive
  • Raices Corona Senior Center 107-24 Corona Ave
  • Rego Park Senior Center 93-29 Queens Blvd
  • Ridgewood Older Adult Center 59-14 70th Ave
  • Rochdale Senior Center 169-65 137th Ave
  • Selfhelp Austin St Senior Center 106-06 Queens Blvd
  • Selfhelp Ben Rosenthal Isc 45-25 Kissena Blvd
  • Selfhelp Clearview Senior Center 208-11 26th Ave
  • Selfhelp Latimer Gardens Senior Center 34-30 137th Street
  • Selfhelp Maspeth Senior Center 69-61 Grand Ave
  • Snap Innovative Senior Center 80-45 Winchester Blvd
  • Snap Brookville Senior Center Jamaica, Ny 11427
  • Sunnyside Community Senior Center 43-31 39th St
  • Theodora Jackson Senior Center 92-47 165 St
  • Woodside Senior Center 50-37 Newtown Rd
  • Young Israel Of Forest Hills Senior League 68-07 Burns St
  • Young Israel Of Queens Valley 141-55 77th Ave

Overnight Shelters in Queens

  • Queens Hillcrest HS 160-05 Highland Av, Jamaica, NY 11432 (All Populations)
  • Queens Queens College 65-30 Kissena Blvd, Flushing, NY 11367 (All Populations)
  • Queens York College 94-20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd, Jamaica, NY 11451 (All Populations)

Disaster Assistance Service Centers in Queens (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

  • Fort Tilden Park at Beach Channel Boulevard – Western-most Parking Lot Queens
  • Walbaums Parking Lot, 112-15 Beach Channel Drive between Beach 112th/Beach 113th

Mobile Medical Vans in Queens

Mobile medical Mobile medical vansvans staffed with primary care providers will provide medical care and distribute commonly prescribed drugs at several of the City’s Disaster Assistance Service Centers in the Rockaways  as well as two additional high-need locations in the Rockaways.

  • Redfern Houses Playground, 1462 Beach Channel Drive; Redfern and Beach 12th Street (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Walbaums Parking Lot, 112-15 Beach Channel Drive between Beach 112th/Beach 113thStreets (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • St. Frances de Sales, 129-16 Rockaway Beach Boulevard (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
For disaster assistance, individuals and businesses can apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov, via a smartphone at m.fema.gov or by phone at 800-621-3362.

 

Cuomo requests maximum reimbursement for Hurricane Sandy damage from FEMA


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Governor Andrew Cuomo sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting a maximum reimbursement from the federal government for damage suffered during Hurricane Sandy.

“Our counties are responding to the continued impacts of multi-building fires, tunnel closures, power losses to hospitals and other critical infrastructure, destroyed homes and sheltered populations — all in the midst of historic flooding that has complicated emergency response operations exponentially,” Cuomo wrote.

Cuomo said that the damage from Hurricane Sandy warrants the the maximum assistance allowed from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Cuomo said the support is needed in the continuing efforts to restore the state following Sandy’s devastation.

Businesses are estimated to have lost $6 billion in revenue due to the storm, the letter stated.

Obama declared New York a major disaster on Monday.

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/04/2011: Queens Officials To Stand Against Swastika Graffiti


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

Queens Officials To Stand Against Swastika Graffiti

Four swastikas showed up on the walls of the Jackson Heights branch of the Queens Library Thursday. At least one more was painted on the library branch in East Elmhurst, and another was etched on the door of a synagogue on 88th Street. Police believe the incidents in three separate locations are related. They are being investigated by the hate crimes taskforce. Local leaders plan to hold a news conference Friday to denounce this kind of hateful vandalism. Read More: NY1

 

‘Fresh Meadows Rules’ Facebook group unites former residents from around the world in Queens

More than 150 former Fresh Meadows residents reunited last week to celebrate the planned neighborhood many remember as a small utopia tucked away in Queens. The gathering, organized through a Facebook group called Fresh Meadows Rules, brought residents from all over the country and even overseas back to Queens to meet up with childhood pals and revisit local landmarks. Read More: Daily News

 

Melanie Webb, Long Island City woman, pleads guilty to shooting slay of her sister,Tara, on victim’s birthday

A Long Island City woman pleaded guilty Thursday to fatally shooting her sister on the victim’s 27th birthday.Melanie Webb, 25, also shot Tara Webb’s boyfriend, Terrell Carmichael, on March 26 in the Long Island City apartment they all shared, she admitted. A source close to the case said Webb shot her sister Tara in her bed and turned her gun on Carmichael, hitting him twice in the torso in the shower. Read More: Daily News

 

Queens high school students to help upstate NY rebuild after Hurricane Irene ravaged homes and businesses

Students at a Bellerose high school will soon get a lesson in what it means to build stronger communities — one nail at a time. The Habitat for Humanity club at the Queens High School of Teaching, Liberal Arts and the Sciences is raising money and supplies for a trip to upstate New York to rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Irene. The group plans to partner with a yet to-be-determined Binghamton high school by the end of the year. It also plans to donate cleaning and school supplies. Read More: Daily News

 

FEMA extends deadline for Hurricane Irene victims

There’s a ray of hope for those affected by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in August. On Oct. 31, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced a deadline extension for individuals seeking disaster assistance. The new FEMA registration deadline is Dec. 15. Read More: Staten Island Live

FEMA approves $2 million to aid Queens


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Federal aid is on the way for more than a thousand Queens homeowners who applied for help.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved more than $2 million for Queens residents since the county qualified for federal aid last month. Queens was declared a disaster area, allowing individual residents, business owners and non-profits to apply for reimbursement from necessary expenses and compensation from repairs.

The amount approved for individual assistance totaled to $2,051,421, according to FEMA.

The funds may be used to assist residents in finding temporary housing, repairing their damaged homes and vehicles not covered by insurance and replacing personal property — including household items like room furnishings and appliances. The federal aid also covered disaster-related medical and dental costs.

FEMA has received 1,497 applications in Queens so far.

Statewide, FEMA has approved $68,397,939 and has received 35,000 applications.

To register for housing assistance or for more information, call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or visit www.disasterassistance.gov. Be sure to have your social security number and insurance information. Queens homeowners have until October 31 to register.

Disaster Recovery Center to close


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Homeowners in Queens have only one more day to visit their local Disaster Recovery Center (DRC).

The center – located at 144-06 94th Street in Jamaica – will close on Wednesday, October 5 at 5 p.m., according to the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM).

The DRC in Queens opened on Monday, September 26 after Hurricane Irene in order to provide residents seeking help with FEMA disaster recovery specialists. The specialists were able to provide residents with more information about state disaster aid and disaster unemployment programs.

But although the center will close, residents can still apply for federal funding with FEMA until October 28.

To register, call 800-621-3362 or visitwww.disasterassitance.gov. Be sure to provide your social security number and insurance information.

FEMA to help homeowners after hurricane


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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Queens homeowners who suffered damages as a direct result of last month’s Hurricane Irene may now qualify for federal assistance.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared the county a disaster area, allowing individual residents, business owners and non-profits to apply for reimbursement from necessary expenses and compensation from repairs.

“We went out and performed what we call a preliminarily damage assessment, where we go and look at neighborhoods that were affected based on 3-1-1 [calls],” said FEMA spokesperson Gary Weidner. “Queens warranted enough damages to qualify for federal assistance.”

For those who qualify, FEMA aids in temporary housing, vehicle repairs, home renovations not covered by insurance — including household items like room furnishings and appliances — and other disaster-related medical and dental costs.

Before a determination on eligibility can be made, FEMA will first send an inspector to investigate damage claims. The inspector will then file a report.

“It may not make them whole again, but what it will do is help make the house safe and secure,” Weidner said.

As of September 15, FEMA announced that it will also provide assistance to residents who have become unemployed because of the hurricane. Under the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program — among a few eligibilities — those who were injured in the disaster and are unable to work, or those whose workplace or mode of transportation were destroyed, can apply for weekly benefit payments.

The deadline for the DUA program is October 12. Benefits are payable through March 4, 2012. To apply, first file for regular employment insurance with the New York State Department of Labor at 1-888-209-8124.

To register for housing assistance or for more information, call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or visit www.disasterassistance.gov. Be sure to have your social security number and insurance information.