As Hurricane Sandy victims continue their struggle to rebuild, Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano announced a network of programs and financial assistance opportunities to assist residents while State and Federal programs are developed to help residents with Federal aid. These programs are in addition to the STEP program offered by Nassau County and services offered by the Business Recovery Center within the Nassau County Industrial Development Authority (IDA).
The Community Development Corporation of Long Island offers an emergency home repair loan fund to assist eligible homeowners, whose incomes are under 120 percent of area median income (AMI), with loans of up to $5,000. Income eligibility would be at or below $129,000 annually for a family of four. Those interested should call 631-471-1215 ext. 125 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has a free energy efficiency program for income eligible New Yorkers whose income is at or under 60 percent of the state median; which are guidelines under the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). EmPower NY has received funding to expand its work scope for eligible homeowners who experienced flooding during Sandy. It offers no-cost energy services on Long Island and in the Rockaways relating to oil, gas and propane. Those seeking assistance can call 1-800-263-0960.
Natural Grid offers customers on Long Island, who have been seriously impacted by Hurricane Sandy but whose homes have not been declared uninhabitable by the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), three levels of assistance:
- A one-time bill credit which entitles eligible customers with $150 to assist with repairs/and or replacement of damaged boilers, water heaters or furnaces. The customer’s equipment must have been “tagged” indicating a relight was necessary.
Assistance for HEAP-eligible customers which entitles the customer to additional assistance as well as the $150 bill credit. These customers, who have previously been approved for the 2011 and 2012 HEAP program, may receive help with gas equipment inspections, repair or replacement completed by a licensed plumber.
- Customers who are ineligible for HEAP, based on income levels, may receive expanded customer assistance in addition to the $150 bill credit. Customers whose household income levels fall within certain low income guidelines or who meet other need-based criteria may be eligible to receive additional assistance.
To determine eligibility, gas customers are urged to call National Grid directly at 1-877-MY-NGRID (1-877-696-4743) for an initial screening. A copy of the National Grid Hurricane Sandy Relief Program brochure with eligibility guidelines is posted at https://211longisland.communityos.org/cms/mode/126.
Also, in partnership with New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and State Senator Charles Fuschillo, County Executive Mangano made available representatives of the Department of Financial Services (DFS) to help homeowners, renters and business owners with insurance-related issues stemming from damage caused by Storm Sandy. The event took place on Saturday, Feb. 16.
Project Hope Crisis Counselors, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), were also available at the event at Cedar Creek Park in Seaford, to offer free and confidential supportive services to adult and child victims of Hurricane Sandy, including the location of additional resources residents may need to recover.
DFS representatives help citizens contact their insurers if they have been unable to do so and answer questions about homeowners’, renters’ and business owners’ insurance coverage. Citizens unable to go to the Mobile Command Center are encouraged to call the DFS hotline at 1-800-339-1759 which is staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends or visit www.dfs.ny.gov.
If residents are unable to visit Project Hope Crisis Counselors at the times listed above, counselors can be reached at 1-800-LIFENET, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.