NEW YORK – New York survivors of Hurricane Sandy have received $564 million in federal individual assistance grants to help them recover from damages caused by the storm.
The assistance includes $531 million in housing grants, including short-term rental assistance and home repair costs, and $33 million to cover other essential disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses and lost personal possessions.
Disaster assistance grants must be used for disaster-related expenses. Shortly after receiving the funds, survivors receive a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency explaining how the money may be used. Survivors should keep receipts for all disaster-related expenses.
Housing Assistance funds may be used for:
- Repairs to return the home to a safe and functional condition. These may include repairs to windows, doors, water and ventilation systems or other structural parts of a home.
- Rebuilding a home that has been destroyed.
- Reimbursement for hotel or motel lodging expenses directly related to the disaster while the survivor’s home is being repaired. Those who must remain in temporary housing for an extended period may request more assistance until their home can be reoccupied or other permanent housing arrangements can be made.
Other Needs Assistance funds may be used for:
- Medical, dental and funeral expenses.
- Repair or replacement of damaged personal property, specialized tools for employment, household items, furniture and appliances.
- Reimbursement for moving expenses and transportation costs (vehicle repair).
- Other approved disaster-related expenses.
Survivors with questions about use of FEMA grants may call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 Relay or Video Relay Services can call 1-800-621-3362. FEMA representatives are available 24 hours, seven days a week until further notice. Multi-lingual representatives are also available. Survivors may also visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov for information, or by smartphone, visit m.FEMA.gov.
The deadline for registration with FEMA is Dec. 31, 2012.
After registering, survivors may receive a loan application packet from the U. S. Small Business Administration. Even if they don’t want a loan or don’t expect to qualify for a loan, homeowners and renters should complete and return the SBA application. A completed SBA loan application is needed in order to qualify for state and FEMA grants that cover personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, moving and storage expenses and other help.