FEMA okays aid eligibility for homeowners in Warren County

— Warren County homeowners suffering substantial losses due to destruction caused by Tropical Storm Irene are now eligible to apply for assistance, officials announced mid-afternoon Friday.

Warren County Emergency Services Coordinator Amy Drexel said she heard the news of the approval of Warren County residents’ eligibility mid-afternoon Friday, and she contacted various area officials and town supervisors where the Aug. 28 storm inflicted the most damage.

“This is wonderful and I’m ecstatic,” Drexel said. “With so many houses suffering catastrophic damage, this is really needed in Warren County.”

Drexel urged that everyone who may have already contacted her office or local officials about their losses, must now contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency as 1-800-621-FEMA to start the process of applying for compensation.

Grants of up to $30,000 are available to property owners of primary residences. The new designation for Warren County also means that businesses in the county are eligible to apply for low-interest loans for recovery from storm damages.

Lake George Town Supervisor Frank McCoy, who had lobbied state and federal officials this week for the federal designation, said he was happy about the news.

“This is the best news we could possibly have at this point for the citizens in our county,” he said. “There have been a large number of people who have suffered substantial storm losses, and hopefully this will ease some of the pain they’ve suffered and help them recover financially.”

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