Guidance for Synagogues Impacted By #Sandy for Preserving Possibility for Financial Aid from FEMA
In the context of Sandy related damage, FEMA provides supplemental funding (after insurance payments are exhausted) for the repair and restoration of infrastructure and facilities to pre-disaster condition.
Nonprofit entities that can qualify for such financial aid include hospitals, nursing homes, community centers, day care centers, libraries, museums and senior centers located in Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester Counties.
(Several years ago, in the wake of a natural disaster that damaged the Jewish day school in Seattle, the Orthodox Union worked successfully with the Bush Administration and allies in Congress to amend the laws and regulations which govern FEMA to clearly include non-public — including parochial — schools in the class of entities eligible for FEMA reconstruction funds.)
Immediately in the wake of the storm, the OU’s Washington Office initiated discussions with senior officials at the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (under which FEMA operates) to establish the eligibility of houses of worship — including synagogues — damaged by Sandy for FEMA reconstruction funds. We are making progress, but the discussions are ongoing.
In order for synagogues to preserve their ability to potentially receive reconstruction aid, applicants must complete a Request for Public Assistance within 30 days of the declared event (it has been amended to December 13, 2012).
Therefore, if your shul has sustained damage due to Hurricane Sandy, we urge you to file the forms included in the Request for Public Assistance package.
The disaster number is: FEMA-4085-DR-NY.
In the lower section of the Request for Public Assistance form: you should:
- Check the box “Yes” that your synagogue is a private non-profit organization, and
- Describe your organization on the next line as “community center and library” as well as any other descriptors listed in the lower section of the form if you provide such services in your synagogue (i.e., day care center, homeless shelter, senior citizens center).
- Only describe your synagogue as a “school” if your school is an accredited elementary or secondary school (K-12).
The forms and the supporting documents listed at the bottom of the form should be sent to:
New York State Office of Emergency Management
1220 Washington Avenue
Building 22, Suite 101
Albany, NY 12226-2251