ALBANY, N.Y. -- When Hurricane Irene tore into New York in late August, residents in declared counties became eligible for federal assistance. There are two easy ways to register with FEMA for assistance.
Applicants with damage from the disaster can register by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. The toll-free line is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET, seven days a week until further notice. People with hearing impairments, can use the TTY number at 800-462-7585. Applicants can also register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or with any web-enabled mobile device or smartphone at m.fema.gov. Follow the link to "apply online for federal assistance."
Applicants can feel confident that the information they provide is used only to access disaster recovery assistance, according to the head of disaster recovery operations in New York for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
"An application with FEMA for disaster assistance is confidential," said Philip E. Parr, FEMA federal coordinating officer. "We don't want privacy concerns to prevent people from getting the assistance they are eligible to receive."
Information gathered in the telephone interview when the applicant calls the FEMA toll-free number is used only to determine what type of assistance is most appropriate and is kept confidential. This is a requirement of the Privacy Act of 1974. An applicant can provide written consent to permit FEMA to disclose his or her application information to other agencies that may provide assistance.
State Coordinating Officer, Andrew X. Feeney urged New Yorkers who suffered damages from the severe storms and flooding to call and register for assistance. "That one phone call is your application for a number of disaster programs that are in place to help the people of New York recover from this terrible disaster."
Individuals, families, and business owners who suffered losses in the designated counties should register for disaster assistance such as grants for temporary housing and essential repairs to make the home safe and secure, or low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The deadline to register for disaster assistance is October 31, 2011.
Disaster assistance is available to residents and businesses in Albany, Bronx, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Herkimer, Kings, Montgomery, Nassau, Orange, Otsego, Putnam, Queens, Rensselaer, Richmond, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, Warren, Washington and Westchester counties.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.