FEMA aid funds available

After waiting 10 days after the initial heavy flooding damage, Granville, along with the rest of Washington County, finally got the word Friday that they would qualify for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Administration.

Granville Town Supervisor Matt Hicks got the word from U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson just before Thursday’s town board meeting. Hicks said the important thing for anyone impacted by the flood waters to do is get the necessary paperwork filled out.

Mayor Brian LaRose said he feels confident the village will be in line for federal assistance with what could be as much as $1 million of damage done to the waste water treatment infrastructure.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) distributes two types of aid, Individual Assistance (IA) and Public Assistance (PA), he said.

Filling out paperwork is necessary to qualify for IA and it would be to the advantage of impacted residents to be ready for FEMA workers when the return, LaRose said. The mayor said he expected to have FEMA representatives back in Granville this week to speak with residents.

Both owners and renters can receive IA which includes grants to cover expenses for temporary housing, home repair and other serious disaster-related needs and expenses from replacement of personal property to medical, dental or transportation costs not covered by insurance or other assistance programs. IA also comes in the form of Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loans for renters, owners and small businesses to repair or replace damaged items.

Officials with FEMA encouraged residents to fill out the necessary forms to register to receive aid. Don’t assume that you have registered just because you have reported your damage to local government, reports said. Flood victims sometimes miss out on help they could have received by guessing they are not eligible because they have already cleaned up, thinking accepting FEMA funds can impact taxes or Social Security or because they are concerned about taking aid meant for someone else.

Homeowners have 60 days to apply for FEMA assistance according to the website.

Michelle and Paul Mackey of Rathbun Avenue said they had already gone online and filled out the necessary paperwork even before Granville and Washington County were declared disaster areas, to be eligible for federal disaster relief when the declaration was made.

The Mackey’s home had 10 inches of water in the ground floor during the storm.

Although they had flood insurance, it was for structural damage, they found out it would not cover their household full of belongings.

New York State Agriculture and Markets announced last week the establishment of a recovery initiative for farmers.

Farmers are advised to contact their local Soil and Water District to receive more information regarding matching funds, grants and loans and small business assistance programs available for farms impacted the Irene.

Find the state website at nys-soilandwater.org/contacts/county_officials.

Pember librarian Ardyce Bresett posted on the Pember Library and Museum’s website alerting browsers to assistance the library plans to offer. With Wifi available 24 hours a day and Internet access during library hours, Bresett said the library is set up to help any residents who need to complete the FEMA paperwork

As of Monday, the closest FEMA disaster assistance center is located in Rutland at the Rutland Heart Center, 1 Commons Street, but representatives of the organization were expected to be in Granville this week.

FEMA phone: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) the phone lines are staffed seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. or go online to disasterassistance.gov.

The New York State Bar Association announced Sept. 9 flood victims are eligible for free legal help. Individuals with questions regarding insurance, property disputes, landlord-tenant issues or general legal inquiries are advised to call the Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) at 800-342-3661 to receive a free 30-minute consultation either over the phone or in person.

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