ALBANY, N.Y. -- With winter just around a bend in the calendar, homeowners who were hammered by Tropical Storm Floyd should make sure their home heating systems are restored to good working order, state and federal disaster officials suggested today.
And there may be more help available for people facing extensive furnace repairs.
"If you live in one of the counties where a federal disaster has been declared, and had water damage to your furnace, register for assistance," said Marianne C. Jackson, federal coordinating officer for the disaster recovery. "Frequently, when the furnace is cleaned and tested, a homeowner may find that the damage requires major repairs.
The declared counties are Albany, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Schenectady, Ulster and Westchester. People affected by Floyd can register by calling the toll-free Federal Emergency Management Agency line, 1-800-462-9029, or the TDD line for the speech- or hearing-impaired, 1-800-462-7585.
"Even though they have already received an emergency housing grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for cleaning and testing of their furnace, homeowners may be eligible to get funds for furnace repair if necessary, or replacement if the furnace is destroyed," Jackson said.
FEMA has an appeal process built into its assistance program. "We spell out the process in the letters to people who receive disaster housing repair grants, but homeowners are sometimes reluctant to make a written request," Jackson said. People can ask for more assistance by writing to the FEMA appeals officer at the address on the letter they receive. They should explain their situation, include their FEMA application number - also on the letter they receive - and include a copy of the repair estimate with the contractor's name and telephone number.
"In any case, it will cost little more than your time to file an appeal, and the results may help you get through a cold New York winter," Jackson said.