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FEMA: Temporary Fix to Ravaged Homes

Emergency agencies plan to begin making quick fixes to homes made unlivable by Hurricane Sandy and to "shelter in place" displaced families.

It's the first time such a plan has been tried by FEMA, which has decided on this route because its typical options are not available in the New York metropolitan area, federal and local officials said.

"This is not a nice-to-do thing – it is a must-to-do thing," said Michael Byrne, federal coordinating officer for FEMA. "It is getting cold and people's lives are in jeopardy." The program, announced Wednesday at the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management in Bethpage, will enable families to remain in or return to their homes while permanent repairs are completed. 

The program has three key components:
  • Residential electrical meter repair.
  • Temporary essential electrical measures, including running power lines to individual homes.
  • Rapid temporary exterior repairs, such as enclosing exposed walls and roofing.
FEMA decided on this approach after examining its options, Byrne said. The metropolitan area has limited available hotel and rental options – unlike many other parts of the country, and no viable place to put large numbers of trailers.

Following previous national emergencies, FEMA has housed displaced people in trailers, such as were used in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Byrne said FEMA doesn't use those trailers any more. Authorities don't know how many people are actually in need.

Some 190,000 have applied for help in the metropolitan area, far less than officials believe are in need of this kind of help. Authorities believe many are hunkered down in their cold, darkened homes. The "shelter-in-place program is still being developed. Local contractors and electrical workers will be employed by FEMA in the quick-fix efforts, said Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano.

Additional federal financial assistance is available for permanent repairs to homes damaged by the storm.

Homeowners in Nassau and Suffolk who want to apply for assistance should contact their county or local officials to receive contractor support. Homeowners must be registered with FEMA: The number is 800-621-FEMA (3362).

Story and photos by Joe Dowd.
Ranger Sewer November 16, 2012 at 11:44 AM
I would not trust the GOVERMENT with YOUR HOME. THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH !
the truth November 16, 2012 at 12:53 PM
I want to start a program called "A HOME IN A DAY" Along with LIBA and help from FEMA I can make this happen. There are a lot of contractors out of work along with union workers together we can do this. I am a former contractor, NYS Building Inspector and now and Energy Consultant. Let’s make this happen for are fellow brothers and sisters. GOD BLESS!
Walter Noller November 16, 2012 at 01:09 PM
The idea of returning to ones' home is an excellent idea, restoring a sense of normal in an abnormal world. But, where are the trailers? Has there been any effort to provid temporary shelter that can be placed on private property? While not a blanket fix, it makes repairs on a home easier and there's also the idea of providing security to the home and posessions. It just seems there was quicker response from government agencies on many issues during Katrina. I hope I'm wrong, but it seems those who suffered losses from Sandy have been personally resourceful in getting things done than what was witnessed in New Orleans.
Jim November 20, 2012 at 08:55 PM
If "THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH !" as you put it, why would you continually complain and moan about Obama's ACA and people on government assistance? There is no free lunch as you put it, so they are paying in some way and not mooching off the government as you've said in other comments in other articles.
UV ELECTRIC November 30, 2012 at 01:08 AM
Hello Charlie, How does one become authorized to do this work for FEMA. I am interested in doing work under the STEP program and I am a licensed electrician. Thanks

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