Volunteers helped clean the Wake Up Call coffeehouse in Keene on Labor Day. The building took a direct hit from the Tropical Storm Irene flash flood, causing erosion, knocking out the utilities, and destroying the furnace. The business was open the day before Irene hit on Aug. 28 and has been closed since.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is closing its Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) in Essex and Warren counties and has extended its Disaster Unemployment Assistance deadline, according to FEMA Public Information Officer Peter Lembessis.
The three DRCS in the area have been giving support to victims of Tropical Storm Irene, which caused widespread flooding and damage to homes, businesses and roadways on Aug. 28.
The DRC at the Jay Community Center in Au Sable Forks will close Friday, Oct. 7. The DRC at the Lake Luzerne Town Hall, serving Warren County, shut down Tuesday, Oct. 4. And the DRC at the Moriah firehouse closed on Saturday, Oct. 2.
Although the DRCs are closing, Irene victims have until Oct. 31 to register for financial assistance. People can register by calling (800) 621-3362 or going online at www.disaterassistance.gov.
As of Oct. 2, more than 34,000 people have registered for FEMA assistance in the wake of tropical storms Irene and Lee, according to Lembessis. More than $66 million in federal aid has been approved. In Clinton County, more than 370 have registered, and more than $540,000 in aid has been approved. In Essex County, more than 520 have registered, and more than $1.497 million in aid has been approved. And in Warren County, 114 people have registered, and more than $142,000 in aid has been approved.
On Oct. 3, state and federal officials announced that the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) application deadline has been extended to Nov. 16. This aid is for residents who are unemployed as a direct result of the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene, and they may now be eligible for weekly benefit payments under the DUA program.
“The DUA program extends coverage to self-employed people, farm workers and others who have lost employment as a direct result of the disaster,” said Andrew X. Feeney, state coordinating officer. “It is specifically designed to assist those who are otherwise ineligible for state unemployment benefits.”
People may be eligible to apply for DUA if:
•They were injured in the disaster and are unable to work, whether they are an employee or self-employed.
•Their workplace was damaged or destroyed.
•Their transportation to work is not available.
•They cannot get to their jobs because they must travel through the affected area.
•They were about to begin working, but could not because of the disaster.
•They derived most of their income from areas affected by the hurricane and their business is down as a direct result of the disaster.
To apply for DUA, call the Telephone Claims Center at (888) 209-8124.