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Special Section Archives The Altamont Enterprise, September 8, 2010

In the wake of Irene
How to get help

By Saranac Hale Spencer

With more rain falling on saturated ground this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo has requested that New Yorkers affected by Tropical Storm Irene be able to apply for retroactive flood and crop insurance coverage from the federal government.

“Preliminary estimates indicate crop and agricultural damage totals in the tens of millions, with over 140,000 acres of farm land lost,” according to a release from the governor’s office.

“The USDA – Farm Service Agency estimates to date that approximately 5,000 farms in New York incurred damage during the aftermath of Irene… In New York State, only a small percentage of the state’s 35,250 eligible farms are insured.  For New York, crop insurance is not efficient for our producers as the program has been designed for large mid-west flatland operations and not geared towards the smaller, diverse specialty crop operations of New York,” Cuomo wrote to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate.

Similar requests have been made following other major disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, according to the release.

The state’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance announced yesterday that Food Stamp recipients who lost food during the storm can get replacement food stamp benefits.  Those who may be eligible can go to http://otda.ny.gov/programs/applications/2291.pdf to get a form to submit to their local social services office.

Information on services and how to reach them from the New York State Disaster Assistance Handbook, available in its entirety online at www.AltamontEnterprise.com, is summarized below:

Federal Emergency Management Agency:  Provides money for temporary housing, housing repairs, and replacement of destroyed houses.

Phone: 1-800-621-3362

Website: www.disasterassistance.gov

New York State Homes and Community Renewal: Includes that state’s Affordable Housing Corporation, Division of Housing and Community Renewal, Housing Finance Agency, State of New York Mortgage Agency, Housing Trust Fund Corporation, and others.

Phone: 1-866-275-3427

Websites: http://nysdhcr.gov and www.nyshousingsearch.org

American Red Cross: Provides emergency food, clothing, shelter, and medical assistance.

Phone: 1-866-438-4636

Website: www.redcross.org

U.S. Internal Revenue Service: Federal tax laws allow the IRS to grant relief to taxpayers who are victims in a presidential disaster declaration.  This relief includes postponing tax deadlines to provide people with extra time to file and pay without being assessed any penalty, additional amount, or addition to the tax, or abating people’s interest for periods for which they received an extension.

Phone: 1-800-829-3676

Commission for Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities: Can provide information and technical assistance and can direct people to area resources.

Phone: 1-800-624-4143

Website: http://cqc.ny.gov

New York State Insurance Department Disaster Assistance: Helps in dealing with complaints when filing claims with individual insurance companies.

Phone: 1-800-339-1759

New York Farm Bureau: Can direct people to other resources for help.

Phone: 518-436-8495 or 1-800-342-4143

Website: www.nyfb.org

U.S. Small Business Administration: Gives economic injury business loans and physical disaster business loans.

Phone: 1-800-659-2955 or 716-843-4100

Website: www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance/index.html or www.sba.gov/about-sba-services/208

New York State Bar Association: For people who have no attorney, legal advice and referrals are available to those in need, some at no charge.

Phone: 1-800-342-3661 — for free consultation with an attorney.

Website: www.nysba.org

The Bar Association of the City of New York: Has information to help flood victims.

Phone: 212-626-7373 (for Spanish language: 212-626-7374)

Website: www.abcny.org or www.LawHelp.org/ny

Unemployment Insurance Claims Center

Phone: 1-888-209-8127

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Phone: 1-888-209-8124

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