(UPDATE [February 4, 2013]: Beginning February 4, all FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers will operate 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. All centers have stopped offering service on Sundays.)

More than two months after Sandy devastated the Sheepshead Bay waterfront, FEMA has finally established a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) on Emmons Avenue, providing a one-stop shop for recovery services within walking distance for many hard-hit residents.

The DRC kicked off a “soft opening” today at 1:00 p.m., using space offered by the Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club (3076 Emmons Avenue). It will have a regular opening tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. Representatives for FEMA did not respond by our deadline to a request for more information, including complete operating hours or a list of services. Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein’s office, though, tells us the DRC will operate until January 28.

DRCs offer services, including:

  • Guidance regarding disaster recovery
  • Clarification of any written correspondence received
  • Housing Assistance and Rental Resource information
  • Answers to questions, resolution to problems and referrals to agencies that may provide further assistance
  • Status of applications being processed by FEMA
  • In-person application for Rapid Repairs
  • SBA program information if there is a SBA Representative at the Disaster Recovery Center site

Bay Improvement Group and Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association have been advocating for a DRC to be established in the heart of Sheepshead Bay for weeks, recruiting local pols including Councilman Lew Fidler and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein to champion their efforts. FEMA informed leaders on Monday that they had secured a location and would begin seeing applicants today.

“It took a lot of time and effort to get FEMA and other government agencies to recognize the need for a Disaster Recovery Center in Sheepshead Bay. But we’re happy they’re here now and will do everything we can to get the word out before deadlines like January 12, when displaced residents must leave FEMA hotels; January 14, the deadline for registering IN PERSON for Rapid Repairs; and of course January 28, the last day to register with FEMA,” said Laura McKenna, BIG’s acting executive director.

According to FEMA’s website, other local DRCs have been operating in Gerritsen Beach (2901 Gerritsen Avenue), Brighton Beach (3300 Coney Island Avenue), Coney Island (1904 Surf Avenue) and Gravesend (10 Bouck Court).

UPDATE (1/3/2012 @ 9:30 a.m.): FEMA just informed us that normal operational hours for this Disaster Recovery Center are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, until further notice. A spokesperson emphasized that FEMA’s final deadline is January 28.

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  • BIG STEVE

    Finally! Thanks to the hard work 24 x 7 since Sandy, by Bay Improvement Group’s acting Exec Dir Laura McKenna and also BIG VP Jack Spadaro! We were able to get his needed location and get the date to file extended by pressuring all the offices we could and the Rapid Repair date to Jan 14th too! http://www.bayimprovementgroup.org

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  • Sheepshead Resident

    Oh Thank You so so much FEMA for all your information but what I really need are more people like those across the street from Occupy Sandy who are serving and helping my community- providing volunteers to gut and de-mold my house, deliver hot meals tools and basic supplies. Cut the shit and get shit done. And some from Bay Improvement group are pompous. Where is you relief station ? When your community looked to you for help where you ? Oh that’s right, stopping by the Occupy tent look for tools and pick up mold supplies. Credit is to be given to the people who serve the people. Lets not be fooled. It was the presence of these people from Occupy and the connections that they made that got Sheephead bay the well needed and long forgotten attention from the government, not your Big V.P. So thank you Occupiers from the bottom of my heart for doing what others can’t get together.

  • Rosemarie Neri

    So happy for my old hometown. They needed this center desperately ! God Bless all the residents who have been suffering over two months! The new year will be better.

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  • nolastname

    Didn’t know where to pit this. Be careful driving East on the Belt near the Plumb Beach comfort station. Sand is blowing into the driving lanes.