New York, NY -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that the Applicant Assistance Center (AAC) in lower Manhattan will cease operations May 1, 2003. Located at 141 Worth St., the facility has provided face-to-face assistance for New Yorkers affected by the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.
"Now that all of the registration deadlines for FEMA assistance have passed, demand for services at the AAC has substantially decreased," said Federal Recovery Officer Brad Gair. "Closing the center does not mean that FEMA will not still be able to help; we are simply transitioning to a more efficient method of serving our customers."
A full range of services will continue to be available by phone through the FEMA Helpline for those who are already receiving disaster aid, such as Mortgage and Rental Assistance. We are now at a point in the recovery process where the bulk of the casework has been completed, and very little in-person assistance is required," said Gair.
Applicants can call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-525-0321 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585) to check on the status of their applications. Regular hours for the Helpline are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. All Helpline operators have access to interpreter services, accommodating the diverse language needs of the New York metropolitan area.
The Applicant Assistance Center opened Oct. 2, 2001, and offered a broad range of assistance programs for individuals, families and businesses affected by the World Trade Center disaster, including grants for temporary housing or emergency repair; mortgage and rental assistance; low-interest disaster assistance loans for homeowners, businesses of all sizes and non-profit organizations. Nearly 190,000 applicants visited the center in its 19 months of operation.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) closed its operation at Worth St. on Feb. 14. Those business owners and other individuals already registered for SBA assistance can call the agency's customer service department at 1-800-659-2955.
New Yorkers seeking crisis counseling services can call Project Liberty (New York State Office of Mental Health) at 1-800-LIFENET (543-3638) or visit the website at www.projectliberty.state.ny.us.