FEMA has set up several rebuilding centers around the state, offering guidance for those recovering from Hurricane Sandy. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Days after Hurricane Sandy hit, the Home Depot in Throgs Neck was serving more than their normal customers. New Yorkers affected by Sandy came from near and far seeking help in rebuilding their destroyed homes.
"When the hurricane happened our store was one of the only stores around the area still open, said Department Manager Pablo Garcia. "So we actually partnered up with our regular teams from other stores since they were closed and didn't have any power."
Now Home Depot's Throgs Neck store is the latest in the chain to host representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a workshop they've held since November at various home improvement stores across the state.
The workshop provides specialists at the stores to give advice on how to make flooded homes safe to live in once again.
"We also have information for the community about how to reduce the risk of mold and mildew in their homes," said Carmen Rodriguez, a FEMA public information officer.
They also offer guidance on how to rebuild stronger and smarter homes.
"We actually have how-to classes on our web site," Garcia said. "Some of us are stronger in specific areas, so if you ever need help you could just go to one of our partners and, believe it or not, there's always somebody in here that knows something."
Most importantly though, FEMA wants New Yorkers to know that their help is available to all U.S. citizens, regardless of age. The agency doesn't want children who are suffering to fall between the cracks because their parents aren't citizens."
In other words, fear of being deported shouldn't stop people from applying for assistance on behalf of their children who are citizens.
"This is a declared disaster and when there is a declared disaster we don't ask information if they're U.S. citizens or not," Rodriguez said.
FEMA has already given $767 million in aid to New Yorkers and urges those who might still need help to visit one of their booths where specialists can assist with the application process.
The agency can also be reached at 1-800-621-3362.
FEMA Rebuilding Workshops
Bronx: Home Depot, 2560 Bruckner Blvd, Bronx, NY
Brooklyn: Home Depot, 2970 Cropsey Ave, Brooklyn, NY
Queens: 50-10 Northern Blvd, Long Island City, NY
Hours of operation:
Tuesday: Noon to 8 p.m.
Wednesday through Saturday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.