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Rockaway residents to receive federal disaster food assistance

Mark Lennihan
By Karen Frantz

Some Rockaways residents are eligible to receive temporary food assistance from the federal government following the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, but they will have to travel to Brooklyn in order to apply for the aid.

The program providing the assistance, known as the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, will give out one-time payments for households affected by Hurricane Sandy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it approved $13 million for the program.

“D-SNAP will help the hardest hit get back on their feet and feed their families as they rebuild homes and businesses,” said HRA Commissioner Robert Doar in a statement.

The benefits are available to residents who do not receive regular Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, or food stamps, and who have an income of less than 250 percent of the federal poverty guidelines before disaster-related expenses, a threshold higher than that for food stamp eligibility.

But Queens residents must apply in person at one of two locations, the closest being at 495 Clermont Ave. in Brooklyn. The second location is in Staten Island.

The Brooklyn location will accept applications from Dec. 12 to Dec. 18 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Residents whose last names start with A-M will be able to apply Wednesday, residents whose last names start with N-Z will be able to apply Thursday and all residents may apply Friday through Tuesday.

If applicants cannot apply in person they may send a family member, friend or neighbor to represent them.

A family of one with a monthly income no larger than $2,268 can receive $200, a family of two with an income limit of $2,965 may receive $367, a family of three with an income limit of $3,416 may receive $526 and a family of four with an income limit of $4,034 may receive $668.

Residents who lived in Far Rockaway Oct. 27 with the ZIP codes 11691, 11692, 11693, 11694 and 11697 and who suffered hurricane-related damage or losses are eligible to apply. Some residents who live in hard-hit areas of Brooklyn, Staten Island and Manhattan are also eligible.

U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who had strongly pushed for the USDA to approve the assistance, lauded the announcement.

“So many of New York City’s residents were financially impacted by the storm and are now struggling to make ends meet,” Schumer said. “I am relieved that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing this critical funding.”

Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at kfrantz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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