When hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast, it damaged or destroyed at least 1.2 million homes in New York and New Jersey and 8.5 million people left without power. Families are still living in tents and shelters in both states.
Survivors with home accessibility needs because of Hurricane Sandy, especially older adults and people with disabilities, are encouraged to contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA may be able to assist if elevators or electricity are not working properly, even if the structure did not sustain damage.
Residents living in buildings with non-working elevators or inaccessible common areas may be eligible for temporary rental assistance or other disaster-related assistance from FEMA. Those experiencing accessibility issues while waiting for an insurance settlement also may be eligible for assistance.
Buildings with unsafe conditions such as electrical problems in common areas, non-working elevators and hard-to-access entrances may present difficulties to residents, especially those with disabilities or health concerns that make it difficult to use the stairs.
FEMA specialists are canvassing neighborhoods impacted by Hurricane Sandy to ensure survivors with physical or mobility needs have equal access and receive equal benefits from FEMA programs. They will work on a case-by-case basis to assist survivors with access and functional needs to ensure they receive the assistance for which they are eligible.
FEMA has hired over 500 temporary workers to assist with this work and will continue working until recovery efforts are complete.
For more information on this and other relief programs, FEMA has established a Sandy helpline: 800-621-3362 (Voice, 7-1-1/Relay) or TTY 800-462-7585. Call centers are available 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. EST, seven days a week.
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