Gov. Kathy Hochul tours a storm-damaged apartment in Inwood. The heavy rains of Tropical Storm Ida forced part of a parking garage to collapse and damaged a ground floor apartment, and vehicle, on West 218th Street. Photo: Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of Governor Kathy Hochul on Flickr
President Joe Biden on Monday approved a major disaster declaration for New York, making federal funding available to residents and businesses in counties affected by flooding last week caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida. According to an early estimate from state officials, Ida caused $50 million in damage to public property and to more than 1,200 residences. In addition to the financial relief provided by FEMA, there are several resources available to New Yorkers who need help in the aftermath of the storm, including temporary shelter, food and basic needs, and cash assistance.
Federal disaster assistance
Biden’s approval of an expedited major disaster declaration this week means federal financial relief will be now be made available for New Yorkers (those with and without insurance) and local governments to help recover from the historic flooding. New York counties covered by the declaration include Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), Queens, Richmond (Staten Island), and Westchester.
The assistance can cover debris removal, repairs to public buildings and infrastructure, and support for tenants and homeowners. Funds may also go to repair and replacement of personal property, temporary housing, moving and storage costs, or medical, dental, and child care.
Eligible individuals and households must apply for FEMA disaster assistance directly, which can be done at DisasterAssistance.gov, by calling 1-800-632-3362, or through the FEMA mobile app. New Yorkers can also call 311. Be prepared to take photos of your damaged home and belongings, make a list of damaged or lost items, and file a claim with your insurance company if you have insurance.
Note, FEMA aid is limited and does not compensate for all losses caused by a disaster. The maximum grant awarded is $36,000 per household.
Shelter and housing
In New York City, the Red Cross is working with city officials to provide emergency housing to those displaced by Ida. According to the organization, the Red Cross has provided shelter to 350 individuals across the city, Long Island, and Westchester County since September 1. New Yorkers who need assistance can call the Red Cross at 877-RED-CROSS and press 1 when prompted.
New Yorkers have a right to shelter in the city. If you are in need of assistance, find a list of intake shelters to apply here, all of which are open 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.
And Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday that the Met Council will provide a one-month rent payment to those in need, regardless of immigration status. Call 311 for more information.
Food and basic needs
The Red Cross is working with the city to provide debit cards worth $515 to households for basic needs, including clothing.
For food assistance, Catholic Charities of Brooklyn & Queens and City Harvest will help find a food pantry, soup kitchen, and mobile market closest to you. On Thursday, September 9, Catholic Charities is hosting a pop-up pantry in Queens at St. Mary’s Star of the Sea in Far Rockaway, with distribution beginning at 9:15 a.m.
To receive assistance with pet care, the Animal Care Centers of NYC and ASPCA are offering veterinary care for pets, short-term emergency boarding, surrender services, and pet supplies. Call 1-800-738-9437 for help.
Home repairs, construction, and insurance
De Blasio this week signed an executive order that waives certain permit fees for businesses and homeowners doing construction work as a result of Hurricane Ida. This applies to applications and permits for demolition, alteration, plumbing, electrical work, as well as any associated work permits and inspections.
The city’s Environmental Protection and Sanitation departments are offering free emergency water pumping services to residents. If you need help pumping water out of your home, call 311. The service will be free and no questions will be asked about immigration status.
New York’s Department of Financial Services’Mobile Command Center will operate at selected locations in areas affected by Ida to assist with insurance information regarding policy coverage for losses and suggestions on how to document losses and protect property. Find a full list of locations offering in-person help here.
New Yorkers can also call the DFS Disaster Hotline at 800-339-1759, daily, 8:30 am to 4:30 p.m., and at www.dfs.ny.gov.
The city’s Emergency Management and Department of Social Services opened five service centers to support New Yorkers affected by flooding. Government agencies, nonprofits, and community-based organizations will be on-site to help connect families and individuals to critical services, including assistance signing up for public benefits and health insurance, housing, food assistance, and mental health counseling.
The following centers are currently open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily:
- Bronx: 2365 Waterbury Avenue (P.S. /M.S. 194)
- Brooklyn: 71 Sullivan Street (P.S. 15)
- Manhattan: 215 W 114th Street (I.S. 88)
- Queens: 4602 47th Avenue (M.S. 125)
- Staten Island: 80 Willowbrook Road (I.S. 51)
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