Congressman Tim Bishop hosted an informational meeting open to the public in partnership with Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Jane Bonner and Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker at the Rocky Point Veterans of Foreign Wars Fischer-Hewins Post 6249 on Thursday, January 11, 2013. Representatives from FEMA and the US Small Business Administration were also at the meeting to help residents affected by Superstorm Sandy.
Ray Perez, manager of External Affairs at FEMA, said the main concern of many who attended the meeting was issues with the state of local beaches and public drainage. FEMA is working with New York state and local governments on issues related to damage from Superstorm Sandy and hopes to send engineers to inspect the areas damaged by the storm within the next two to three weeks to determine the eligibility for federal assistance.
Next week, The House of Representatives will vote on emergency appropriations to fund Sandy relief programs including supplemental funding for FEMA, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the SBA, and other federal agencies in two installments. The first installment totaling approximately $18 billion to meet immediate emergency needs is expected to pass easily with bipartisan support. The second installment of approximately $33 billion intended to address longer-term needs like rebuilding coastal communities devastated in the storm and hazard mitigation is more controversial. According to Bishop, the $33 billion tranche will pass if representatives from areas that have benefited greatly from federal funding in the wake of previous disasters vote to send essential aid to the Northeast.
“I am reasonably confident that we will get enough votes to pass it. There are enough of our colleagues whose districts in the past have suffered greatly and the Congress has always stood behind those districts and seen to it that they receive the FEMA support they need. So we’re hopeful that those colleagues will recognize that it’s now the time for New York, Connecticut and New Jersey to receive the assistance that we have provided to other states,” Bishop said during the meeting.
The total approved funding for individual assistance for New York is $841.4 million, with 262,300 registrations. In Suffolk County approved funding for individual assistance is $62.6 million, with 27,900 registrations. For those who were unable to attend the meeting but still need to register for assistance call the FEMA toll free hotline at 1-800-621-3362 or visit www.disasterassistance.gov. To register for individual assistance you will need your Social Security number, the address of the residence where the damages occurred and a phone number to be contacted at. Individual assistance is only available on primary residences. The deadline for registration for FEMA’s Individual Assistance program and the U.S. Small Business Administration Loan program is January 28, 2013.