Coming Back from Sandy

Update on the Recovery Effort from State Senator Liz Krueger:

Public Schools

Most public schools reopened this week and are operating normally. Some have been temporarily relocated due to flooding and power outages or are still operating as emergency shelters. Relocated students are expected to return to school next Wednesday, November 7. A list of relocated schools and related information is posted here.

Restoring Power

Con Edison restored power in Manhattan over the weekend, but residents in flooded buildings, mostly on the Lower East Side and on the East River, are still in the dark due to flood-damaged electrical equipment in basements. Building owners have to repair the damage before power can be restored.

Manhattan buildings using steam are still out because the plant that serves them is still down.  With cold weather setting in, emergency generators and heaters are being brought in and the city has opened daytime warming centers.  A list of those centers is posted here.

If you have no heat, you can also go to a city emergency storm shelter. City-run buses are available to take people who need a warm place to spend the night to shelters. Here's a list of bus pickups.

You can report power outages to Con Edison through its website or by calling 1-800-752-6633. Follow the progress of power restoration efforts throughout the region here.


Subway, bus, and suburban rail service is substantially restored throughout the New York Metro region. A few subway lines are still down or are not making all stops due to flooded tunnels, signal problems, or both. Follow MTA's progress on its website.  Monitor the status of subway lines here.


Some city parks are still closed.  Monitor their status here.


Bellevue Hospital and NYU Medical Center are closed for now. Families of patients can call 311 or 212-423-7272 to find relocated patients.

Donating Blood

Blood supplies are down due to the storm.  You can schedule a blood donation at 1-800-933-2566 or on the New York Blood Center website.

Emergency Storm Shelters

The city's emergency storm shelters are still in operation, and will be until evacuees are able to return home or relocate.  New York City residents and their pets are welcome. View the full list of shelters here.

Food, Water and Blankets

There are 12 distribution sites set up in the hardest-hit areas of the city giving out food, water, blankets, baby formula, diapers, batteries, and other supplies. No one who shows up will be turned away.  You can view a list of those sites here.

Disaster Assistance

New York State has set up an Emergency Assistance Hotline at 1-855-NYS-SANDY (1-855-697-7263).

You can view a list of federal aid available to New Yorkers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) here. To start a disaster assistance claim, register online here or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

Small Business Recovery

The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides comprehensive disaster recovery services, which may be available even to non-owners. Renters and homeowners, including most sole proprietors, can borrow up to $40,000 for repairs.  Up to $200,000 is available to repair your primary residence. Both profit and not-for-profit businesses in designated disaster areas can apply for up to $2 million in recovery loans.  Apply for an SBA disaster loan here or in person at any Disaster Recovery Center. Call 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for the location of your nearest SBA site.

The New York City Department of Small Business Services and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) are compiling a list of small business recovery resources here. The EDC is also working to connect impacted businesses with free goods and services. See details here.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

New Yorkers who lost their jobs due to the storm can apply for federal disaster unemployment assistance. You don't have to meet state requirements for unemployment insurance benefits to apply through the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) for disaster unemployment assistance. See details here.

Apply for unemployment insurance benefits or federal disaster unemployment assistance via the DOL Telephone Claims Center at 888-209-8124 (or if you live out of state, 877-358-5306). Be prepared to answer all questions supporting any claim that you lost your job due to Hurricane Sandy.  The deadline for application is December 3, 2012.

Replacement Food Stamps

New York State got a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to replace food stamps benefits in those areas hardest hit by the storm. Food stamp recipients will automatically get a 50% bonus of monthly benefits to replace food lost, starting tomorrow.  They will also be able to buy hot and prepared foods with their benefits. For a complete list of the New York City zip codes originally included in the emergency replacement click here. The list is expected to grow.

Click here or call 800-342-3009 to find your local department of social services.

Free Legal Assistance

The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) has established a Storm Relief Effort at disaster relief centers, community-based organizations and hospitals. Attorneys and volunteers will provide legal advice to victims regarding FEMA claims, housing disputes, consumer complaints and emergency public benefits. For immediate legal assistance, call 212-584-3365, email StormHelp@nylag.org or visit the website.

NYLAG is seeking attorney volunteers.  To sign up, email volunteer@nylag.org.

More Recovery Links:
 Sandy, three months later [New York Times.]

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