Families and residents who have been evacuated and displaced and cannot return their homes, or their homes are without power and unlivable as a result of damages from Hurricane Sandy can now apply for Transitional Sheltering Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
This temporary program allows affected residents to stay in hotels or motels until more suitable housing accommodations are available. The initial period for this assistance is from November 3, 2012 to November 17, 2012. The program will not reimburse applicants for previously incurred hotel expenses and will not cover meals, optional items or lodging costs above the authorized allowance.
As per the news release on 11/3/12, evacuees must fit the following criteria to qualify:
“Individuals and households may be eligible for TSA, if:
- They register with FEMA for assistance
- They pass identity verification
- Their pre-disaster primary residence is located in a geographic area that is designated for TSA and occupancy is verified
- As a result of the disaster, they are displaced from their pre-disaster residence and are currently staying in a shelter
This federal assistance is intended to provide a place to stay for a specific period of time for eligible survivors who are displaced from their pre-disaster residence and are currently staying in a shelter. Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.”
In order to register for this assistance, contact FEMA and register with them via the online application at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1 (800) 621-FEMA (3362), or via smartphone or tablet at m.fema.gov. Hearing impaired and TTY call – 1(800) 462-7585 or use Video Relay Services (VRS) call 1 (800) 621-3362 for assistance. The toll free numbers are seven days a week from 7a.m. to 10 p.m. local time until further notice.
FEMA has requested that those with ability to register online please do so in order to keep the phone lines open for those without connectivity and to share this information with friends and neighbors. "To be eligible to receive this federal assistance you must register with FEMA,” said Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) Michael F. Byrne. "Keep in mind the TSA initiative is only a temporary fix. We are working diligently with our state and local partners to develop a long-term housing solution to help people until their homes and communities are repaired or rebuilt. But, again, you must register with FEMA to be able to benefit from this short-term aid."
The local Suffolk County SPCA has been assisting with sheltering local pets as well, and are requesting donations of food, blankets, bowls, leashes and volunteers to help with their mobile shelter unit as well as help to staff local shelters. If you have lost a pet during the storm you can contact a local facebook page called “Lost and Found Pets of Long Island” that has been set up as a lost and found for affected residents in the Suffolk County area as well as "Sandy's Pets" for all the pets affected by this storm.
Local volunteer efforts are underway all over Long Island to help our neighbors; if you would like to help out please contact one of these groups to see where your services are most needed.
The American Red Cross has worked to help families in need by setting up various feeding stations throughout our area. In addition, temporary food benefits and assistance may be temporarily available to qualifying individuals through the D-SNAP (Disaster Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program). This is a short term food assistance program for families suffering in the wake of a disaster. Usually it only is in effect for the first 7 days after a disaster, so contact FEMA first for information as to whether this is still in effect in your area. You can apply for the program by contacting your local state offices at www.fns.usda.gov, in NYC by calling 1-877-472-8411, or NY hotline for SNAP assistance and their partnered local outreach organizations at 1(800) 342-3009. You can get bottled water and assistance with all your applications at FEMA’s Disaster Recovery Centers at www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or by calling FEMA at 1 (800) 621-3362