Check back with Patch later today for a closer look at assistance available from FEMA and SBA
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.
There were representatives from FEMA (federal emergency management agency) and SBA (small business administration). The deadline to apply for assistance has been extended from Dec. 1 to Dec. 31. Both FEMA and SBA representatives say that those in the field have not been given a limit on number of loans and grants they can distribute.
Steve Ward, FEMA Branch III director, announced 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.
“We want to make sure that we reach all of the residents in Rockland County who are eligible to apply for individual disaster assistance from FEMA,” said Vanderhoef. “We also want to get the word out that low interest loans are available from Small Business Administration for homeowners, businesses and private non-profit organizations.”
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
“Supporting our partners at Rockland County and the State of New York, we continue to assist survivors and communities in their recovery from Hurricane Sandy,” said Ward. “The effort is well underway and I look forward to continuing to help Rocklanders who need assistance from the Federal government.”
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.
In Rockland, 56 have received aid from SBA, according to Vanderhoef. SBA loans are for damages but also economic losses.
“The U.S. Small Business Administration continues to provide homeowners, renters, businesses and private non-profit organizations with low-interest disaster loan assistance,” said Richard Daigle, public affairs specialist with the SBA. “Over $85 million in SBA disaster loan assistance has been approved statewide. We encourage those with SBA loan applications to complete and return the applications as soon as possible.”
Daigle encouraged everyone to apply for a loan because even if you're not approved, it may mean that the amount of grant money you would receive FEMA could increase. He added that people who are not eligible for FEMA or SBA can still get money because local funds have been set up by donations from private residents.
SBA loans for homeowners are as low as 1.688 percent with loan repayment terms of up to 30 years. Non-profit and business interest rates start at 3 percent and 4 percent respectively.
“Our job is far from over, but we have a strong team working on it and I’m optimistic that we’ll reach the bar,” said Chris Jensen, program coordinator with the County’s Office of Fire & Emergency Services.
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 visit DisasterLoan.sba.gov/ela or call 1-800-659-2955.