Syracuse, NY -- Victims of the April 3-5 ice storm have until July 11, 2003 to apply for the federal and state assistance programs triggered when President Bush declared a major disaster in 15 central and western New York counties, at the request of Governor George E. Pataki.
"The deadline to apply for disaster assistance is fast approaching and anyone who has not yet applied for help should do so immediately," said Marianne C. Jackson, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) disaster recovery operation.
Jackson said FEMA plans to close its Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) in Penfield, Monroe County, and Phoenix, Oswego County, on Saturday, June 28, 2003. After the DRC closure, storm victims will be able to register for assistance until July 11, 2003 by calling the FEMA Tele-Registration / Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.
Disaster programs available to eligible homeowners, renters and businesses in Cayuga, Monroe, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Oswego, Seneca and Wayne counties include: home repair; temporary housing; disaster-related needs for personal property losses; reimbursement for medical, dental and transportation expenses; and low-interest disaster loans from the U. S. Small Business Administration.
"While more than 14,600 storm victims have applied for help so far, there may be many more out there that haven't sought the assistance they are entitled to," Jackson said. "Anyone who suffered damage or expenses related to this disaster should act now to ensure they are reimbursed."
Non-profit organizations and government entities in all 15 counties - Cayuga, Chenango, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Otsego, Seneca, Schenectady, Wayne and Yates - may be eligible to recover costs for measures taken to save lives, ensure public health and safety, protect property, remove debris and repair infrastructure under FEMA's Public Assistance (PA) program.
On Wednesday, June 11, 2003, FEMA granted the state's request to extend the deadline for Public Assistance requests in Cayuga, Chenango, Monroe, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Oswego, Wayne and Yates counties, for a period of 30 days, to July 11, 2003. The extension will allow for increased outreach to local governments and non-profits and assist in maximizing their reimbursements.
Edward F. Jacoby, Jr., State Coordinating Officer and Director of the State Emergency Management Office (SEMO), said all non-profit organizations - such as hospitals, nursing homes, volunteer fire departments, and schools - should apply to be reimbursed for the expenses they incurred dealing with the ice storm. Non-profit organizations with questions about the reimbursement process should call (518) 457-7082.
"Many non-profit organizations played a critical role in the wake of the ice storm, providing emergency services vital to their communities," Jacoby said. "The dedication and commitment they exhibited is both admirable and appreciated and they should be reimbursed for the costs they incurred while helping others."
Jacoby also urged local government entities to help their taxpayers by ensuring their communities are fully reimbursed for overtime labor, equipment usage and other costs related to the disaster response and clean-up.
"While the Public Assistance program does not have as direct an impact on individuals and businesses as the Individual Assistance program, it is critically important to communities because the ice storm expenses that may be reimbursed would otherwise have to be paid for by local taxpayers," Jacoby said.