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Published:January 30th, 2007 10:42 EST
Helplines are Link to FEMA and SBA Disaster Assistance

Helplines are Link to FEMA and SBA Disaster Assistance

By SOP newswire

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Even though the Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) have closed, those affected by the November severe storms and flooding can still receive assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), state and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The SBA has opened a Disaster Loan Outreach Center in the Artco Building , 222 Water Street , third floor, in Binghamton to continue to provide one-on-one assistance to qualified individuals and businesses. The center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.

"We want those who have registered to know that assistance is still available," said State Coordinating Officer John R. Gibb, Director of the State Emergency Management Office (SEMO).

"We are continuing to process existing assistance registrations," said Federal Coordinating Officer Marianne C. Jackson, "and will accept new registrations up until February 20."

FEMA and SBA will continue to answer questions and track the status of an individual's disaster assistance and disaster loan applications through toll-free helpline numbers, according to state and federal officials.

The helpline numbers for individuals are as follows:

FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621 FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The telephone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

SBA Disaster Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or 1-800-877-8339 for the hearing and speech impaired. The hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Those who have not registered for assistance, can call the FEMA registration line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) . Individuals with hearing or speech impairments should call (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. The registration lines are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. You can also register online at .

FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, an applicant must complete an SBA loan application to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders.  FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.