Update: The FEMA DRC mobile unit will not be at Piermont Library but will be at Piermont Village Hall
Two weeks ago, Senator Chuck Schumer joined other elected officials on a tour led by Piermont Mayor Chris Sanders. They visited businesses and residents in downtown Piermont that were one of the hardest hit areas from Hurricane Sandy.
After the tour, Schumer petitioned FEMA for a second Mobile Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Rockland County. The first one was opened at Provident Bank Park in Pomona.
On Sunday, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer announced that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will send a DRC to Piermont and the surrounding towns in order to provide better federal support to local residents and business owners in this storm-ravaged community.
The Mobile DRC is expected to begin in Piermont in the parking lot of Dennis P. McHugh Library, on Monday. The location of the Mobile DRC will change throughout Rockland County based on the local need of federal assistance, although the center could stay in a single location for an extended period if needed.
DRCs are facilities or mobile units that provide resources and guidance for residents who wish to apply for FEMA and other disaster assistance programs. It'll be staffed with FEMA and Small Business Administration (SBA) employees who answer questions and provide resources for residents affected by Sandy.
Federal specialists will staff the Mobile DRC from noon to 6 p.m. on Monday and tentatively from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on subsequent days, and help ensure that qualified residents and businesses get the assistance to which they’re entitled. These centers provide information on housing assistance, rental resource assistance, clarification and guidance to questions and referrals to agencies that may provide further assistance.
“For residents and business owners in storm-ravaged parts of southern Rockland County, I’m pleased to announce that additional federal support is on the way,” said Schumer. “FEMA has heeded my call and will send a Mobile Disaster Recovery Center to Piermont and the surrounding communities, starting on Monday, which will bring recovery experts directly into the community, and open up a great deal of additional resources to help get things back on track. This second DRC closer to Piermont, one of the hardest hit communities in the County, will serve as one stop shops for residents, business owners and local officials to work with FEMA and access the resources that the emergency disaster declaration provides.”
In the days following the storm, Senator Schumer called on FEMA Administrator Fugate and urged him to establish an initial disaster recovery center in Rockland County.
This mobile DRC will help residents avoid driving a half hour or more to access resources in Pomona, without wasting fuel and time that is critical to time sensitive repairs. Schumer added that the close proximity allows FEMA specialists to visit damaged areas and offer expertise on location.
According to FEMA, over 69,000 people in New York have already registered for disaster assistance and more than $75 million in assistance has been approved.
Piermont’s waterfront of restaurants, marinas and homes was severely damaged as a result of the high tides caused by Superstorm Sandy. Rising waters caused by a historic high tide resulted in the major downtown area to be completely flooded. The storm caused residents to flee their flooded homes and locked business owners out of their submerged waterfront establishments. In Piermont, the Hudson River’s high tide surged upward of 9 ½ feet, submerging sea walls, damaging docks and flooding Route 9W in and out of the city.
Estimates for the damage are already projected to be several million dollars in the Town of Piermont alone. Several sailboats and cabin boats washed up throughout the town, along with concrete park benches and pieces of boardwalk from over a mile away. Superstorm Sandy also caused severe flooding in Nyack’s riverfront area — including the municipal marina, the Nyack Boat Club and Clermont condos at South Main Street.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter urging for a second DRC in Rockland County, appears below:
Dear Administrator Fugate:
I write today to bring to your attention an important issue facing the residents of Rockland County, New York.
As you know, Rockland County was severely impacted by Superstorm Sandy. Specifically, Rockland County, particularly in Piermont and Nyack, experienced severe flooding and wind damage following Sandy. Tens of thousands of lower Hudson Valley residents remain without power, over a week after the storm. The storm’s impact was such that New York requested approval of a major disaster declaration for Individual Assistance and Public Assistance (Categories A through G). My fellow New Yorkers and I were very relieved and very grateful when this request was expeditiously approved and when FEMA opened up a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Pomona (Rockland County).
Unfortunately, the declaration is only the first stage in a long recovery process. Rockland County residents are still struggling to assess the impact of Sandy and what federal resources are available to them. Given this countywide uncertainty, I respectfully urge you to open a second DRC in Rockland County. Doing so will ensure that Rockland residents all across the county can feel the presence of the federal government in their local communities, know what federal resources are available, and how they can access them.
I am grateful for the prompt attention that you and the entire federal government have given to quickly responding to this disaster and for your commitment to cutting bureaucratic red-tape so that assistance can be provided as quickly and efficiently as possible. In that spirit, I strongly urge you to approve this request.