After several postponements, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has now set a hard, April 13 deadline to register for federal Sandy assistance and return applications for Small Business Administration disaster loans, and hard-hit folks in ravaged neighborhoods are already scrambling to file for a little help from their feds.
“Yesterday 30 people registered, which isn’t a huge amount, but it still shows that people are out there who still need help,” said Debra Young, a FEMA media relations manager stationed at the agency’s Brooklyn field office Downtown.
This “final” deadline may seem dubious to borough residents who have grown used to seeing headlines advertising extension after extension for FEMA’s relief registration, but FEMA’s media professionals are adamant that there will be no further postponements to the deadline for New York’s hardest hit to register for aid.
“I am asking that you give one last push as Saturday’s deadline approaches. There will be no more extensions!” exclaimed Young.
The feds say they’ve done everything within their means to make sure that Sandy-ravaged folks in Red Hook and along Brooklyn’s southern coast know to register, and that they can only knock on a half-drowned door so many times before they have to call it quits.
“We’ve reached out to everyone to let them know we’re here and they can register,” said Young. “We’ve had a huge effort out in the streets going door to door in the affected communities, some homes we’ve gone by several times to make sure that no one has missed this information.”
Since Sandy made landfall on Oct. 29, over 271,000 people have registered with FEMA for federal aid and, while there’s typically registration surges as deadlines approach, the agency has seen the number of people asking for help dwindle sufficiently to say enough’s enough.
“The deadlines are based on us seeing the numbers going down,” said Young.
In New York, more than $3.1 billion has been provided in direct assistance to homeowners, renters, businesses and communities:
• $950 million approved in FEMA grants for individuals and households:
• $815 million for housing assistance
• $135 million for other needs assistance
• $1.37 billion in SBA disaster loans approved for homeowners, renters and businesses
• $817 million approved in FEMA Public Assistance grants to communities and nonprofit organizations that serve the public.
Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cn