Ulster county residents eligible for FEMA help

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By Jay Braman Jr.
While the effects of Hurricane Sandy were minimal in the Catskills, some pockets of the region were hit hard, particularly in the western portions of Ulster County, notably Shandaken, Woodstock and the Town of Olive.

On Monday, Ulster County Emergency Management Coordinator Art Snyder announced that Ulster County has been declared eligible for FEMA’s Individual Assistance program. “This will help families recover from the effects of Sandy,” said Snyder in a prepared statement. “Individuals and families may apply on line at DisasterAssistance.gov or by telephone at (800) 621-3362 (FEMA).”

On Wednesday there will be meeting with FEMA officials about establishing a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) that will supply access to the various FEMA services available under this declaration. Ulster County will work to incorporate a Small Business Association presence at the DRC to assist the many businesses that sustained damages.

“We wish to emphasize there is no need to wait for a DRC to open,” Snyder said. “We encourage residents to apply on line or by telephone.”

FEMA can provide financial assistance for both housing needs and non-housing needs. They will pay for temporary housing and home repairs or replacement, but anyone applying for such help must have tried to get assistance from their insurance companies first.

As for what FEMA calls non-housing needs, money is available for necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster. This includes: disaster-related medical and dental expenses, disaster-related funeral and burial expenses, and clothing; household items (room furnishings, appliances); tools (specialized or protective clothing and equipment) required for your job; necessary educational materials (computers, school books, supplies).

Also fuels for primary heat source (heating oil, gas), clean-up items (wet/dry vacuum, dehumidifier), disaster-related damage to a vehicle, moving and storage expenses related to the disaster (moving and storing property to avoid additional disaster damage while disaster-related repairs are being made to the home) and other necessary expenses or serious needs as determined by FEMA.
Go to http://www.disasterassistance.gov/ for information about what assistance you may be available for.