FEMA to provide emergency assistance for homeowners


Those who have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy may get the chance to move back into their homes sooner rather than later after state and local officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced an emergency assistance plan Wednesday to aid homeowners.

At Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s request, FEMA will bring in contractors in order to perform basic repairs so that residents can return to their homes while more long-term repairs are in progress.

“The solution is to get people back into their homes safely, alleviating the need for alternative shelters,” said Michael Byrne, federal coordinating officer for FEMA.

FEMA has developed a two-step approach to helping individuals make necessary repairs to their homes. They will use the newly developed Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power program in conjunction with the existing Individuals and Households Program in order to keep individuals in their homes, therefore avoiding the need to find long term sheltering or housing solutions.

The STEP program consists of residential electrical meter repairs, temporary essential electrical measures and rapid temporary exterior repairs. Eligible repairs include, patching windows or exterior doors, tarp on the roof, minor electrical work and necessary inspections for habitability.

“This is an emergency program intended to provide a temporary fix to allow people to live at home while they recover,”” Byrne said of the STEP program.

IHP was established to enable homeowners to address necessary expenses and serious needs, which cannot be met through other forms of disaster assistance or insurance, including personal property, medical, dental and funeral. Individuals can access both the STEP and IHP programs at the same time, if they so choose.

“Governor Cuomo and I worked tirelessly with FEMA to develop these new innovative housing options, which along with financial assistance, will help residents rebuild their lives and homes," said Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano.

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