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Queens Chronicle

$61M in FEMA aid to Howard Beach

Agency says claims were also filed in other areas in South Queens

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Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:48 am, Thu Feb 21, 2013.

Victims of Hurricane Sandy from Howard Beach have received over $61 million in aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to records broken down by ZIP code.

Residents who filed claims with FEMA from the 11414 ZIP code — which includes Howard Beach and Lindenwood — have received $61.1 million dollars in aid. Community Board 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton announced the total at last Thursday’s meeting, in which representatives from FEMA and the Small Business Administration gave updates on the recovery progress in Howard Beach.

The total amount of aid given to residents in the neighborhood represents just under 7 percent of the total $896 million in FEMA aid given to Sandy victims in New York State as of Tuesday.

Some residents have received as much as $30,000 from FEMA.

Nearly every resident of the neighborhood suffered some form of damage from Sandy, and in many homes, the cost to repair the destruction has run tens of thousands of dollars.

Some residents have also applied for loans from the Small Business Administration, which has also been reaching out to businesses in Coleman Square and along Cross Bay Boulevard affected by the storm.

FEMA spokesman Michael Skeels reminded members of CB 10 that the deadline to register for FEMA aid is Feb. 27, and the Transitional Sheltering Assistance Program — in which FEMA pays for hotels for victims while their homes are still uninhabitable — ends Feb. 24. The deadline had been Feb. 10, but was extended at the request of Gov. Cuomo. More than 1,000 people in New York are still living in hotels as part of the program, according to FEMA.

The agency also says some claims were filed by residents outside Howard Beach, including other areas where flooding was a problem, such as Long Island City, and parts of the borough that escaped flooding such as Flushing and Bayside, where falling trees damaged homes.

“There were other areas that were not hit by the flood that experienced damage, especially by the wind,” Braton explained.

She said there were claims filed with FEMA in Ozone Park, South Ozone Park and Richmond Hill, exclusively for wind damage.

At the meeting, the agency’s reps also explained their advisory flood maps, which add nearly all of Howard Beach and the western part of Lindenwood into the area identified by FEMA as a flood zone. Braton said that some homes in South Ozone Park south of the Belt Parkway are also under flood risk because of their proximity to Bergen Basin — a body of water inside JFK Airport near Lefferts Boulevard. Some homes there did receive minor flood damage after Hurricane Sandy.

The agency reminded residents that the maps were only advisory and it could be several years before final ones are drawn. However, they suggested homeowners take steps to protect their property from floods based on the advisory maps, including purchasing flood insurance and raising their homes.

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