By Alice Kenny
Catholic Charities, a partner in the Westchester County Long-term Recovery Coalition, took a lead role in opening a multi-purpose Hurricane Sandy recovery center in White Plains yesterday, November 8.
“We developed a strong working relationship with the county department of social services and other first responders after Hurricane Irene hit our area last year,” said Karen Reynolds, Catholic Charities regional supervisor for Westchester County who is helping organize the emergency command center. “Our goal is to help people with basic human needs and restore normalcy to their lives.”
President Obama declared Westchester County a disaster area after the hurricane hit, making residents eligible to apply for disaster aid.
More than sixteen thousand Westchester residents remain without power 12 days since Hurricane Sandy slammed through the region. Thousands more are trying to reestablish their lives as they sift through damaged homes and search for new jobs after the businesses were destroyed.
You have questions? We have answers:
Where is the Recovery Center located?
- The Westchester County Center, 198 Central Ave. in White Plains
When is it open?
- Seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
What about parking?
- Parking fees at the County Center have been waived.
Who is there and how can they help?
- Catholic Charities and other social service agencies to provide residents with recovery assistance.
- Con Edison to answer customer questions about outages and restorations
- FEMA to help individuals and households apply for financial aid for losses and damages caused by the storm.
- The Small Business Administration, which will help businesses apply for low-interest loans for storm-related damages.
- The Department of Health, which will be giving free tetanus shots to anyone involved with the cleanup at the County Center on Friday, November 9- Sunday, November 11, 2012.
What documents are needed?
- Social Security number (including that of a spouse, if applicable
- Private insurance information
- Address and zip code of damaged property
- Directions to the damaged home or property
- Daytime telephone number
- Address where mail can be sent
- Documentation of losses including photographs and repair receipts
Is it necessary to go in person to register with FEMA?
- No. FEMA strongly advises that people register in advance of visiting the disaster center by calling FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 or logging in at www.disasterassistance.gov. Those with speech or heating disabilities can use the TTY number at 800 462 7585 . FEMA representatives are simply there to help residents with the process.
Catholic Charities, a lead member of Westchester County Long Term Recovery Coalition, helped frame the group’s mission to foster partnerships between community organizations and government agencies to help the most vulnerable, minimize duplication of services and utilize resources through referral, advocacy, education and direct aid to residents in need.