2003-01-25 / Community

January 31 Deadline For WTC Assistance

January 31 Deadline For WTC Assistance

Individuals, families and small businesses affected by the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center have one week remaining to register for federal mortgage, rental assistance grants and low interest loans.

Friday, January 31 is the final day registration will be accepted for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Mortgage and Rental Assistance (MRA) program. That date is also the deadline for submitting loan applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for disaster-related physical or economic injury losses.

Recovery officials are urging those individuals affected by the World Trade Center attack to call FEMA’s toll free number (800-462-9029) to register for federal assistance. While this first step of applying must be taken by the end of the month, applicants may be eligible for federal mortgage and rental assistance for up to 18 months, depending on their financial situation during that time period. People who have already registered and are currently receiving assistance through the MRA program will not be affected by registration deadline.

"FEMA’s MRA program has assisted nearly 11,000 families in danger of losing their homes through foreclosure or eviction as a result of financial hardship caused by the World Trade Center attack," said Federal Recovery Officer Brad Gair. "Those who believe they may qualify for the program should call immediately. While the registration deadline is January 31, program benefits can help eligible New Yorkers well into 2004."

Individuals and families may qualify for the Mortgage and Rental assistance program if:

  1. They lived or worked in Manhattan on or before September 11, 2001, or were employed by a company economically dependent on businesses located in Manhattan; and
  2. They lost at least 25% of their total household income after September 11, and this income loss is apparent as of January 31, 2003; and
  3. They or any family member in their household is a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien; and
  4. They have received, as of January 31, 2003, a late payment notice, or other evidence that they are in danger of possible eviction, foreclosure or dispossession from their primary residence.

The FEMA toll-free registration number to call is 1-800-462-9029 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Interpreter services are available to accommodate the diverse needs of all language groups in the New York metropolitan area. Hearing or speech-impaired individuals may call the TTY registration number at 1-800-462-7585.

Those who have registered by the January 31 deadline can continue to visit the FEMA / SBA Applicant Assistance Center in lower Manhattan beyond that date, meeting one-on-one with the FEMA and SBA program representatives who will evaluate their individual needs, check on the status of their application or update their registration information. It is located at 141 Worth Street (formerly the DMV Building), the Applicant Assistance Center is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

FEMA and the SBA provide a range of assistance including grants for temporary housing or emergency repair, mortgage and rental assistance, crisis counseling, and low-interest disaster assistance loans for homeowners and businesses of all sizes and non-profit organizations.

New Yorkers can continue to access crisis counseling services beyond the January 31 registration deadline for MRA grants and SBA loans. For crisis counseling services, call Project Liberty (New York State Office of Mental Health) at 1-800-LIFENET (543-3638) or visit the www.projectliberty.state.ny.us.


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