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Starting Tuesday, Nov. 27, the multi-purpose Hurricane Sandy disaster recovery center in White Plains will have new hours of operation. Located at the County Center (198 Central Ave., White Plains), the facility will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.
County Executive Robert P. Astorino officially opened the site on Thursday, Nov. 8. He was joined by officials from FEMA, county commissioners and non-for-profit representatives. At Astorino's request, Kevin Burke, chairman and CEO of Con Edison, was also there.
Parking fees at the County Center have been waived.
The FEMA center will handle as one storm Hurricane Sandy and the nor'easter.
FEMA strongly advises people register in advance of visiting the disaster center. Note that residents can apply for FEMA aid without coming to the County Center.
The center is staffed with representatives from:
- Con Edison to answer customer questions
- FEMA to help individuals, 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
- A variety of social services agencies to provide residents with recovery assistance
"The idea behind the center is to provide a place where people can get up-to-date information about their personal needs," Astorino said. "FEMA will help people navigate through the process of applying for disaster relief and get information and help to people as quickly and as easily as possible."
With Westchester being declared a disaster area by President Obama, residents are eligible to apply for disaster aid, along with local governments and nonprofit agencies. The first step is to register either by calling FEMA's registration number (800) 621-3362; or going to www.disasterassistance.gov. For those with speech or hearing disabilities, use the TTY number at (800) 462-7585.
In addition to state and federal partners at the center, staff from the Department of Social Services and other county departments will be on hand to help residents. There will also be representatives from the Small Business Administration, who can explain low-interest loan packages available to individuals, nonprofits and businesses of any size.
These loans are for the repair or replacement of real estate and/or personal property damaged by the storm and related flooding, officials said. People who register with FEMA may be sent a loan application from the SBA. No one is obligated to take out a loan, according to the SBA. Applicants have six months after approval to decide whether to accept the loan.
Astorino said that it is imperative that residents and businesses document their losses with photographs and with receipts from repairs. In addition, those impacted must contact their insurance company to find out what – if anything – is covered.
FEMA advised that all persons applying for assistance at the center should be prepared to provide:
- Social Security number (including your spouse's if applicable)
- Private insurance information, if available
- Address and ZIP code of the damaged property
- Directions to the damaged home or property
- Daytime telephone number
- An address where you can receive mail