(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.