Tropical Storm Ida walloped the New York Metro region dumping more than 9 inches of rain in some places; flooding homes, trapping vehicles on washed out roadways and bringing the subways to a grinding halt. By Friday afternoon, officials confirmed the deaths of 16 New Yorkers killed in the catastrophic flooding — 13 in New York City and three in Westchester. Now that the waters have receded, New York officials and residents are assessing the damage and trying to clean up their waterlogged homes.
Gothamist/WNYC compiled a list of resources that can help you get on your feet if you’ve suffered significant damage. They include help making an insurance claim to retrieving your vehicle you’ve had to leave behind in a flooded roadway.
My home was flooded and I have flood insurance. How can I get help?
If you own a home and have flood insurance, you can contact the Office of State Financial services for help. You can reach their hotline at (800) 339-1759 or on their website here. Governor Kathy Hochul said state workers will be driving around impacted parts of Westchester County helping people fill out applications as well.
Remember to document all the damage before you start any clean up.
What if I’m a homeowner but don’t have flood insurance or a renter—is there any financial assistance for me?
You can report damage to the city here. You can file a claim with the city comptroller to claim funds for flood damage as a homeowner without insurance or a tenant. You have to file that claim within 90 days of the flooding. The comptroller investigates the claim and if their office finds negligence by the city, they have to approve funds within 90 days.
But in the past, the city has dispersed these payments. The recently-declared federal emergency declaration will free up FEMA funds which could provide more relief to those not covered by insurance. More information will likely become available in the coming days. As is the case for homeowners with insurance, be sure to document the damage before cleaning up.
What do I do if my home is uninhabitable because of flooding?
If you live in the five boroughs, reach out to 311 and they’ll connect you with the Red Cross that can provide emergency housing in hotels for a few days. The city’s department of housing and preservation will work with families on a longer-term basis to find them housing, likely in the city’s shelter system. HPD’s emergency housing staff can be contacted at (212) 863-7660 or reached via email at email@example.com.
The American Red Cross also set up shelters in Pelham and Mamaroneck in Westchester County for residents displaced from their homes there.
Where else can I get help?
City officials say they’ll be updating their website with new resources as they become available. You can find that at nyc.gov/ida. You can call 311 with the latest information as well.
The Office of Emergency Management has opened emergency service centers at all five boroughs today to assist those impacted by the storm. Hours of operation for each center are from 12 to 6 p.m.
The addresses of where to go are listed below:
- Bronx – 890 Garrison Avenue, 1st floor (Job Center Queuing or CSIC Waiting Area)
- Brooklyn – 95 Evergreen Avenue, 2nd floor (Job Center CMU Waiting Area)
- Queens – 32-20 Northern Boulevard, 2nd floor (SNAP Waiting Area)
- Manhattan – 109 East 16th Street, 1st floor (former CBIC Waiting Area)
- Staten Island – 201 Bay Street, 2nd floor (SNAP Waiting Area)
How do I get my car back if I had to abandon it because of flooding?
The Office of Emergency Management reports that more than 1,300 vehicles have been cleared off the city’s streets and highways as part of Ida’s coverage. OEM has coordinated with the New York Police Department to remove the vehicles. The NYPD has 44 tow trucks quickly moving to clear the roadways.
According to a tweet posted by the NYPD, anyone who has left their vehicle can call 311 to determine what lot their car has been taken to. Vehicle owners will not be charged as a result of the tow.
The list of hours and locations of NYPD tow pounds can be found here. The NYPD says vehicles that are not claimed will be sold at auction.
I want to help my neighbors clean up, is there a way I can get involved?
Yes. So far some elected officials have made a plea for volunteers to help neighbors clear out debris from their homes.
On Twitter, Councilmember Daniel Dromm posted a tweet asking anyone who would like to volunteer to email his office.
Because water can be contaminated, the American Red Cross recommends you keep yourself protected when cleaning up. That means wearing protective gear such as work gloves, disposable mask, and protective eyewear when handling items that are wet. It’s also advised you don’t begin the cleaning process until the waters have completely cleared.
What if I want to talk to someone?
Emotional support is available by calling New York Project Hope’s emotional support toll free helpline at (844) 863-9314. Calls are kept confidential.
You can also call the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 692-9355. Their disaster distress helpline is (800) 985-5990 for those reeling from the tragedy.
You can also try the New York Disaster Interfaith Services group at (212) 669-1100. They’re open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.