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UPDATE - Help available for Hurricane Sandy victims

Bronx Times

Bronxites suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy needn’t go through it alone. Many public and private agencies and elected officials are working to help.

Federal Disaster Relief

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has opened a mobile assistance center at Edgewater Park’s volunteer firehouse, open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for at least two weeks.

Homeowners must first call FEMA to register for assistance before visiting the mobile assistance center. Officials from the Small Business Administration are also on-site. To apply for assistance, visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call (800) 462-7585.

FEMA was also preparing to open offices, possibly in the rotunda of the Bronx County Building on the Grand Concourse and 161st Street, to handle claims from homeowners, residents and businesses and provide help from the city and state governments.

Part of FEMA’s mission includes running the National Flood Insurance Relief program, which can provide grants of up to $30,000 to homeowners and businesses that do not have flood insurance or who have exhausted their flood insurance coverage.

The hotline for help from the Red Cross is (877) 733-2767.

New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services, which helps in recovery from natural disasters as well as other emergencies, has established a Sandy Helpline at (888) 769-7243 or (518) 485-1159

Power Outages

As of Monday, Nov. 5 roughly 6,100 Bronx customers were still experiencing power outages, largely in Morris Park and Allerton, as well as Throggs Neck, Country Club and Spencer Estate, City Island and Clason Point, as well as scattered outages in the southwest Bronx.

eustomers can report downed power lines, outages, and check service restoration status by computer or mobile device at www.coned.com. They also can call 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633). It is helpful if they have their Con Edison account number available, and report whether their neighbors also have lost power. Customers who report outages will be called by Con Edison with their estimated restoration times as they become available.

Fallen Trees

Residents can call 311 for fallen tress. If phone call wait times are long, you can log in online www.nyc.gov/apps/311.

Warming Centers

For a list of city warming centers open around the borough daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., go to nyc.gov.

Transportation

As of Monday, Nov. 5, most of the major subway and bus lines were back in service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was still busy removing water and debris from some tunnels.

BP Updates

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said his office is relaying information about cleanup and relief efforts from the storm on Facebook (facebook.com/bronxbp) and Twitter on the handle @rubendiazjr.

Small Business Assistance

The city Department of Small Business Services and the city Economic Development Corp. is coordinating services to assist small businesses recovering from Hurricane Sandy.

For small to medium-sized businesses, loans will be patterned after similar programs deployed in past emergencies and capped at $10,000 for those businesses experiencing a storm related interruption in services.

For mid- to large-sized businesses, an emergency sales tax letter from the city Industrial Development Agency will be available allowing them to avoid payment of city and state sales taxes on materials needed to rebuild.

For any business temporarily displaced from its space, the city Economic Development Administration has about 40,000 square-feet of warehouse space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal for short-term “swing-space” for businesses. Call 311 and ask for NYC Business Solutions.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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