GLEN OAKS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Some storm-hit Queens residents are fuming over a Federal Emergency Management Agency policy that isn’t allowing them to get grant money.
The problem stems from FEMA’s categorization of co-ops as “business associations” instead of residential housing.
Despite almost “half” of the homes in Glen Oaks Village sustaining some sort of shingle damage during Superstorm Sandy, FEMA turned them down for hurricane damage grants, according to Bob Friedrich, President of Glen Oaks Village.
“FEMA has no idea how to deal with co-ops. They see co-ops as commercial properties,” Friedrich told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.
People living in Glen Oaks Village say they are angry because FEMA is not treating them like homeowners.
“It’s just an outrage and [something] that needs to change immediately,” Friedrich said. “We have 3,000 families here. These are middle class families who live in New York. We sustained over a quarter of a million in damage.”
Friedrich called the designation “arbitrary and erroneous,” while saying that co-ops have been “completely abandoned by FEMA.”
Rep. Steve Israel (D – Huntington) was among the local elected officials calling on FEMA to end the policy they said is discriminatory against co-ops.
“Rep. Steve Israel sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA Director Craig Fugate asking them to immediately change their policy to allow co-ops to apply for much needed grants,” Israel’s press secretary told Rivera.
Friedrich said it’s not just Glen Oaks Village being affected, but that co-ops across the Tri-State are in the same boat.
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