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Local Elected Officials Update Hurricane Recovery Efforts

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Sheldon Silver and Margaret Chin at Confucius Plaza last week.

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy has been a hectic time for the Lower East Side’s elected officials, who have served as a link between government and relief agencies and the neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan.

Yesterday morning Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver met with representatives of the mayor’s office to give them an assessment of the “various needs of downtown buildings.”   His office also distributed blankets to the Smith Houses, the NEST+m school and the Educational Alliance. Tuesday he was on site at Knickerbocker Village, which is still partially without electricity, to deliver hot meals to weary residents.

State Senator Daniel Squadron, who has been a ubiquitous presence in the neighborhood for the past week, also arranged for blanket deliveries at Knickerbocker Village and at the public housing developments on Pitt Street yesterday.

And last night, City Council member Margaret Chin sent out an update to constituents, detailing her efforts on behalf of Lower Manhattan residents.  Noting that many buildings still lack heat and hot water, the letter said, Chin is “working hard to encourage Con Ed to expedite their work, and Con Ed has been working around the clock to pump out electrical vaults of individual buildings.”  Chin’s letter included a resource list with lots of useful information.  We’ve posted some of the info in the past week, but it can’t hurt to get it out there as much as possible.  Squadron has been regularly updating a similar resource page. You can find it here.


FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (FEMA) – All Lower Manhattan residents or businesses who suffered losses or property damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy should immediately register with FEMA at http://www.fema.gov/apply-assistance or by calling (800) 621-3362. Losses can include temporary housing assistance, damage repair to uninsured primary residences, and other needs including disaster-related medical and dental expenses, damaged personal property, fuels for heat source, moving and storage expenses related to disaster, and any other necessary expenses or serious needs as determined by FEMA. If your needs are not life-threatening, you may have to wait a few days for a response, but it is important to register early.

WARMING CENTERS – If you are without heat or hot water, there are a number of warming centers operation in Lower Manhattan:

  • Center on the Square Senior Center. 20 Washington Square North. (9am – 4pm)City Hall Senior Center. 100 Gold Street. (9am – 4pm)
  • Good Companions Senior Center. 334 Madison Street. (9am – 4pm)
  • Grand Coalition of Seniors. 80 Pitt Street. (9am – 4pm)
  • Mott Street Senior Center. 180 Mott Street. (9am – 4pm)
  • NY Chinatown Senior Center. 70 Mulberry Street. (9am – 4pm)
  • University Settlement Nutrition. 189 Allen Street. (9am – 4pm)


UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE – Anyone unemployed due to Hurricane Sandy is eligible and should immediately apply for unemployment benefits or disaster unemployment assistance. Apply by calling (888) 209-8124 before December 3, 2012.

SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE – We are working with small businesses to ensure that they are able to access low-interest emergency bridge loans and other resources offered at the city, state, and federal level. Please contact Xiaomin Zhao at our office (212-587-3159 or xzhao@council.nyc.gov) for more information. If you are a non-profit organization or company currently displaced, there is office space available for displaced tenants. Contact the Real Estate Board of New York at www.rebny.com. NYC EDC has approximately 40,000 square feet of warehouse space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal available as short-term “swing” office space for the next 30 days, free of charge. Visit the Business Solution Center at 79 John Street or call (212) 618-8914 for more information.

INSURANCE ISSUES – Anyone with questions about filing insurance claims should call the NYS Department of Financial Services emergency hotline at (800) 339-1759 between 8am – 8pm on weekdays and 9am – 4pm on weekends.

LEGAL ASSISTANCE – Several organizations are offering free legal assistance for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. You can visit www.abanet.org/disaster, www.disasterlegalaid.org, or www.lsc.gov or call our office at (212) 587-3159 for a referral to an organization.

FOOD STAMPS – If you were already enrolled in food stamps before the storm, the Governor has authorized 50% of the value to be automatically reissued without you needing to apply for replacement. You can apply for replacement from the Human Resources Administration of New York at (877) 472-8411.


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