FEMA reps on hand in Southold to help storm vics

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Chris Baiz, owner of The Old Field Vineyards in Southold, meets with FEMA rep Nika Herford at Southold Town Hall Monday afternoon. Mr. Baiz’s property was damaged during last week’s storm.

Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will continue to be on hand at Southold Town Hall today and tomorrow to help residents in need of disaster assistance as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

As of 2 p.m. Monday, over 25 people had sought information about FEMA assistance at town hall. In a roundtable-type forum, Nika Herford of FEMA helped a group of homeowners on how to apply for federal assistance.

The county received a major disaster declaration from the federal government on Oct. 30.

Some residents who showed up at town hall this morning were out of luck because FEMA reps didn’t arrive until later this afternoon.

FEMA spokeswoman Marybeth O’Leary said the delay was due to Suffolk County officials arranging the federal disaster recovery center at town hall without their knowledge. She said the misinformation has been cleared up and confirmed FEMA reps will be available at town hall to assist residents until 7 p.m. tonight and again tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Ms. O’Leary said as of Saturday morning, nearly 565,000 county residents had submitted federal assistance applications and over 250 households had been approved for FEMA grants.

As of Saturday morning , some $1.75 million had already been approved for Suffolk County residents, she said.

Those with homeowners and/or flood insurance can still receive FEMA assistance if their insurance settlement is delayed or is insufficient to meet disaster-related needs.

Storm victims can also receive FEMA help if they’ve exhausted the additional living expenses provided by their insurance policies, or if they cannot find rental housing.

The U.S. Small Business Administration, whose low-interest loan program was designed by Congress to help residents recover from disasters, is also providing loans for qualified residents (even if they don’t own a business) who sustained storm-related damages.

Residents are urged to visit or apply via Smartphone at People can also call (800) 462-7585.

Read more in the Nov. 8 issue of The Suffolk Times in both our print and electronic editions.

[email protected]