FEMA aid expires for flood victims

With more than 600 visitors to its mobile center, $4 million in loans and thousands of inspections, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was able to provide aid to those still trying to recover from the August 8 storm that hit New York.
But, on Friday, November 16, FEMA closed its mobile unit in Jamaica and ended registration for Queens residents trying to get help to repair their damaged homes.
“It was very successful moving a mobile unit into Jamaica,” FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Marianne Jackson said.
Jackson said 635 people paid a visit to the mobile center, where they registered for home inspections, learned how to clean up their houses, and applied for loans to help them recover.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) partnered with FEMA to provide low-interest loans to homeowners and businesses to help repair damages. SBA provided over $4 million in Queens as a result of the storm.
“You never know what to expect,” SBA Communication Specialist Michael Peacock said. “You have to meet the needs of those affected by the disaster.”
Peacock said the SBA granted a “large number” of loans to homeowners over $10,000.
“I was glad FEMA and the federal government were able to come into the district,” Councilmember James Sanders said.
Sanders said he thought one of the best parts of having the FEMA truck in the area was the relationship the agency built with the residents.
He added that the next time there is a disaster, the community and the federal government will know how to interact to get the area back on its feet.
“It was a trial run for a future disaster,” he said.
Sanders said he thought FEMA having a presence in Jamaica helped underscore the problem of the constant flooding the area experiences.
He said he is happy that Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed billions of dollars to help combat the flooding problem in the region, but hopes the changes begin to go into effect before there is another large storm.

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