Those attempting to slog through the bureaucratic tangle of post-Sandy insurance claims and federal disaster aid received welcomed help at a FEMA Q&A in Northport Village Hall Tuesday.
About 10 FEMA and SBA representatives were on hand to provide one-on-one guidance on various programs such as individual assistance, housing assistance, and temporary shelter assistance available to help assist home and business owners rebuild. Representatives also answered questions on the National Flood Insurance Program.
"We had lots of questions about substantially damaged homes," said John Bartlett, FEMA Division supervisor for Suffolk County. "What can people do and general eligibility questions of how do I follow up with my insurance agent and how can I apply for an expedited payment."
Pamela Ross was one of the FEMA reps on hand to discuss the individual assistance program. "We want everyone to register with FEMA whether they have insurance or not," she said, encouraging people to call the FEMA disaster assistance hotline at 1-800-621-3362. Information is also available at www.FEMA.gov.
The event was set up by Congressman Steve Israel at the behest of the Northport Village Board. Trustee Tom Kehoe said he was happy the village could provide an access point for residents and added that he was happy with the turnout of roughly 30 people.
The majority of attendees were from Makamah Beach in Fort Salonga and Asharoken, both of which were hit particularly hard by the storm. "There was one woman here from Makamah Beach that was almost in tears," said Kehoe. "She said she didn't know if they could rebuild."
Let Patch save you time. Get great local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone everyday with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.
Village Administrator Gene Guido said Northport Village escaped serious damage from flooding and was mostly impacted by fallen trees and debris.
Two women who had already applied for FEMA assistance on their badly damaged home said that they were happy with the additional information gleaned at the event. "I thing it's something that you're looking for when you need answers," said one.
Another man, whose Fort Salonga home near Long Island Sound was badly damaged from flooding, said that he left with lingering frustration and many unanswered questions. He is struggling to get his insurance company to help pay the claim on his home, but faces what he feels like is an insurmountable wall of bureaucratic red tape.
"FEMA's only going to give me a low interest loan and that's not a big help," he said. "Why do we pay for insurance if they won't help us?"
Was your home damaged during Sandy? Has your insurance company honored your claim? Have you applied for Federal assistance? Tell us in the comments below.