Sandy Disaster Relief Resources
Many New Yorkers are still suffering from the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy. It was one of the worst and most costly storms in our nation’s history. Effectively representing the constituents and communities of the 8th Congressional District of New York is my number one priority. The first step is getting our communities the proper aid needed to resume normalcy.
I am focused on providing access to the necessary resources to the thousands of constituents in Brooklyn and Queens that were affected by Sandy. Below are links to city, state, and federal agencies that can provide additional recovery information and assistance to help you, your family, and your community get back on track.
National Disaster Distress Helpline: Hurricane Sandy Resources
The national Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH), a program of the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and administered by the Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC), offers specialized crisis counseling and support for anyone struggling with emotional distress related to Hurricane Sandy. The DDH offers 24/7/365 toll-free, confidential and multi-lingual hotline (1-800-985-5990; “Press 1” for Hurricane Sandy) and SMS (text “TalkWithUs” to 66746; Spanish-speakers can text “Hablanos” to 66746) counseling, support, and referrals to local community-based resources for Sandy survivors, first responders, and anyone who may be experiencing ongoing distress, anxiety, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts/feelings and other mental health concerns. Calls and texts are answered by trained crisis counselors from a DDH-supported network of Sandy “Affected Area Centers” staffed by MHA-NYC and the Mental Health Association of New Jersey. For more information visit http://disasterdistress.samhsa.gov. For access to the bilingual flyers, click HERE.
Federal Emergency and Management Agency
At the direction of President Obama, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to coordinate the federal government's assistance to support states in response and recovery of Hurricane Sandy. Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties in New York and New Jersey can begin applying for assistance by registering online or calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
Eight Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are open to assist homeowners, renters and business owners who sustained damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Specialists from the state of New York, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are on hand to answer questions and provide information on the types of help available to storm survivors. The Disaster Recovery Centers act as a one-stop shop for eligible survivors to meet with state and federal workers and get help as quickly as possible. Although it can be a convenient way to get one-on-one help, visiting with a recovery specialist is not a requirement for disaster survivors. Brooklyn residents and business owners can visit the Cyclone Stadium 1904 Surf Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11224. Hours of operation: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Other centers can be found through this locator:http://www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), at the request of the State of New York, has approved a 14-day extension to the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program and a 30-day extension for the Individual Assistance (IA) program. This action will allow eligible survivors from Hurricane Sandy who cannot return to their homes to stay in participating hotels or motels and enable eligible individuals the ability to receive federal assistance for repairing their damaged properties. TSA is short-term program that places families in hotels while they work toward a longer-term housing plan. Individuals must be checked in to the program by January 26, 2013 to be eligible.
The IA extension will provide an additional 30 days for individuals and businesses to apply to FEMA for assistance for home repairs and other needs and to the Small Business Administration for loans.
To be eligible for FEMA Programs, survivors must first apply for federal assistance through FEMA by:
· Registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov;
· Registering via smartphone or tablet by using the FEMA app or going to m.fema.gov; or
· Registering by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY 800-462-7585). For 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362.
New York State Sandy Recovery Resources Center
The office of Governor Cuomo has created a recovery resources center website where you can find information on available recovery resources for individuals, businesses and communities. Please visit their website for more detailed information: NYS Recovery Resources Center.
New York City Housing Recovery
Visit the New York City Housing Recovery website to learn about resources, assistance, and volunteer opportunities for individuals and communities affected by Superstorm Sandy. In a variety of languages available through the NYC Language Gateway, the website includes information on:
- Upcoming Housing Forums and other events
- Building regulations and codes
- Short and long term housing opportunities
- Financial resources
New York City “Build It Back” Program
On Monday, June 3rd, Mayor Bloomberg announced the opening of registration for the NYC Build It Back program, New York City’s program to assist homeowners, landlords, and tenants in the five boroughs whose homes and properties were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. This site provides access to information on the City's efforts to help New Yorkers recover from the devastating effects of the storm. NYC Build It Back provides several pathways to help affected residents return to permanent, sustainable housing by addressing unmet housing recovery needs in several categories.
New York City New Business Acceleration Team
To help New York City businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy, a new local law waives and refunds various City fees required for rebuilding, recovery and operation of businesses. For new applications, a business must apply for a fee waiver by October 31, 2013 and may have fees waived until December 31, 2013. Please visit their website to see if your business is eligle for fee waivers: Hurricane Sandy: Fee Relief for Business Recovery.
New York City Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery Program
On January 29, 2013, President Obama signed into law the “Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013” (Public Law 113-2) which provides $16 billion in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds to repair and restore areas affected by Superstorm Sandy. The City’s first round of CDBG-DR funds is $1.77 billion. The City has developed a partial Action Plan (“Action Plan A”) that details how we will use this funding to help New Yorkers rebuild their homes, businesses and communities.
For more information:
Read the City’s CDBG-DR Action Plan A
New York City Department of Finance
The DOF wants to make sure that homeowners are aware that March 15 (this Friday) is the deadline both to submit the Sandy Property Damage Reporting form and also to challenge an assessment (mainly 1, 2, and 3-family homes) with the Tax Commission.This is very important. Please share this with your neighbors. You can find information on this here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dof/downloads/pdf/12pdf/hurricane_sandy_tax_relief.pdf.
U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration has opened a Business Recovery Center at the NYC Business Solution Brooklyn Center 9 Bond St., 5th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 that will provide one-on-one help to business owners seeking disaster assistance for losses caused by Hurricane Sandy. The hours of operation are as follows: weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Disaster loans are also available and can be filed electronically.
New York City Department of Education
The DOE has posted school relocation information and continues to provide periodic updates.
New York City Department of Health
Here are some helpful Hurricane Sandy clean up tips:
Drinking water---NYC tap water is safe to drink.
Food safety--Any food – including packaged food – that was touched by flood water should be thrown away. The flood water may contain sewage or other contamination. Any food that was not consistently refrigerated should be discarded.
Protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning. Do not use generators or grills indoors—Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious threat when these devices are used indoors. This should only be used outside and kept away from windows and vents.
Never use stove burners or ovens to heat your home—Using portable gas heaters, stove burners or ovens to heat homes is a fire hazard that also increases risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If your heat isn’t working, wear extra layers of wear layers of dry, loose-fitting clothing, cover their heads, hands and feet. Warming centers are open daily.
Everyone should have and use carbon monoxide alarms. Those that are battery only should test the batteries if possible.
Call the NYC Poison Control Center if you think you have symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning--If someone experiences sleepiness, dizziness, headaches, confusion, weakness or the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, they should immediately seek fresh air and call the poison control center at 212–POISONS (212-764-7667.) They can also call 911, since poisoning is life threatening.
Do not swim in NYC waters—Due to power related shutdowns, wastewater treatment plants and pumping stations have discharged untreated wastewater into NYC waterways. It is advised that direct contact with the Hudson River, East River, New York Harbor, Jamaica Bay and the Kill Van Kull for recreational activities such as swimming, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing or any other water activity that would entail possible direct contact with the water should be avoided until further notice.
Coping with stress after disaster—Experiencing traumatic events such as emergencies and disasters can be stressful, even overwhelming. The stress caused by these events can have a negative effect on how you feel, think and act. If you feel overwhelmed or are concerned about yourself or someone else, you can find help by calling 1-800-LIFENET, a free, confidential helpline for New York City residents, available 24/7, with trained staff ready to take your calls (For Spanish—1-877-AYUDESE; For Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese 1-877-990-8585). For more tips, visit nyc.gov/health.
Clean up precautions— Protect yourself by wearing masks, safety glasses, waterproof gloves and boots. Wash your hands and face before eating or drinking. Additional precautions on how to address mold and handle debris, can be found here.
New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)
Click here for more information regarding NYCHA.
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles
For additional information, visit www.dmv.ny.gov.
Internal Revenue Service
The IRS automatically provides relief to any taxpayer located in the disaster area. Taxpayers need not contact the IRS to get this relief.
Beyond the relief provided by law to taxpayers in the FEMA-designated counties, the IRS will work with any taxpayer who resides outside the disaster area but whose books, records or tax professional are located in the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. All workers assisting the relief activities in the covered disaster areas who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization are eligible for relief. Taxpayers who live outside of the impacted area and think they may qualify for this relief need to contact the IRS at 866-562-5227.
In addition, the IRS is waiving failure-to-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due on or after the disaster area start date and before Nov. 26, if the deposits are made by Nov. 26, 2012. Details on available relief can be found on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.
The IRS wants to assure taxpayers, businesses and tax preparers that it is working aggressively to monitor the situation and provide additional relief as needed. So far, IRS filing and payment relief applies to the following localities in New York(starting Oct. 27): Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester.
In addition, the IRS today alerted employers and other taxpayers that because Hurricane Sandy is designated as a qualified disaster for federal tax purposes, qualified disaster relief payments made to individuals by their employer or any person can be excluded from those individuals’ taxable income.
Qualified disaster relief payments include amounts to cover necessary personal, family, living or funeral expenses that were not covered by insurance. They also include expenses to repair or rehabilitate personal residences or repair or replace the contents to the extent that they were not covered by insurance. Again, these payments would not be included in the individual recipient’s gross income.
The IRS also announced that the designation of Hurricane Sandy as a qualified disaster means that employer-sponsored private foundations may provide disaster relief to employee-victims in areas affected by the hurricane without affecting their tax-exempt status. Like all charitable organizations, employer-sponsored private foundations should follow the guidance in Publication 3833, Disaster Relief: Providing Assistance Through Charitable Organizations, in providing assistance to employees or their family members affected by Hurricane Sandy.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
The U.S. Department of Agriculture regional Food and Nutrition Service leadership is working with state commissioners and program administrators in the affected area to meet food needs for emergency shelters and feeding sites and to assist with Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) requests. For more information, call 202-720-2791.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is coordinating with FEMA and affected states to identify housing providers who may have available housing units, including public housing agencies and multi-family owners.HUD is also speeding federal disaster assistance to New York and New Jersey to provide support to homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes in the most heavily impacted areas. The President’s major disaster declarations for New York and New Jersey allow HUD to offer foreclosure relief and other assistance to some families in the designated counties. For more information, click here or call 888-297-8685.
U.S. General Services Administration
The Computers for Learning Program puts computers and other technology into local classrooms that really need it. Through this program, GSA has provided hundreds of thousands of pieces of excess computer equipment worth over $317,000,000 to thousands of eligible schools and organizations across the United States. However, despite this impressive record, the program is not widely known. Of the 132,000 eligible schools in this country, only about 6,000 schools are active in the program and very few schools in the Super Storm Sandy area are registered. It is our hope that through the Computers for Learning Program, GSA and our partner agencies will be able to provide excess computers and IT equipment to many of the schools and educational nonprofit organizations in the areas hardest hit by Super Storm Sandy. If you know of schools and educational nonprofit organizations that were impacted in your district, please encourage them to register for the Computers for Learning Program by going to the following link: http://www.ComputersForLearning.gov
U.S. Department of Labor
The U.S. Department of Labor has announced a $27,792,296 National Emergency Grant to assist New York with cleanup and recovery efforts. The funds are being awarded to the New York Department of Labor to assist with the restoration of public lands and infrastructure.
U.S. Postal Service
The U.S. Postal Service is prepared for a quick response before, during and after a hurricane; and has procedures in place to expedite recovery efforts, including making sure there is timely delivery of mailed ballots. Voters in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy as well as other customers can obtain updates on postal facility operation changes due to the storm on the Mail Service Updates page on the Postal Service website. The safety of employees, the public and the U.S. Mail remains the top priority, and the USPS will continue to post Mail Service updates for residential customers on their front home page on usps.com, located in the bottom right corner. Access this information here. Also, USPS will continue to post updated information for business mailers here.
Please call 1-800 75-ConEd (1-800-752-6633) or visit www.coned.com.
Call 1-718-643-4050 and visit www.nationalgrid.com for more post-storm tips.