Weary homeowners battered by Hurricane Sandy began to trickle into the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s mobile Disaster Recovery Center at Nassau Community College’s Student Union, a red-brick building on the west side of the campus, when it opened last Friday. The center was set up to help homeowners who suffered losses in the massive storm to file for grants that will enable them to rebuild.
“The recovery center is a one-stop-shop for eligible survivors where they can meet with both state and federal representatives in order to get help as quickly as possible,” said Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano. “I encourage residents who think they may qualify for federal aid or would like additional information on what disaster assistance programs are available to stop by the mobile center.”
FEMA media relations specialist Gary Weidner said FEMA grants are intended to help victims of Hurricane Sandy make their homes livable. Whatever is not covered by a homeowner’s insurance, either under their regular policies or their flood policies, could be covered by FEMA.
He noted, though, that FEMA does not cover personal effects and does not finance upgrades to homes. It only covers essential items to make a home habitable, such as major appliances, furnaces and hot water heaters, along with structural damage.
Weidner encouraged homeowners who suffered damage, whether or not they are covered by insurance, to register with FEMA and apply for aid. In order to register, though, homeowners must first file claims with their insurance companies.
And, Weidner said, “We’re going to be here as long as it takes.”
FEMA aid comes in the form of a grant, which does not need to be repaid if a homeowner does not have insurance. Anyone who receives a FEMA settlement and then an insurance settlement must repay FEMA with the insurance money, Weidner explained.