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Important Information on Flood Assistance & Recovery

Main St. in Duryea flooded
Main Street in Duryea on Friday afternoon

After one of the worst floods in the history of Pennsylvania, our families, friends and neighbors throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania and around the state need our help more than ever.  Their homes were ruined, precious and personal valuables destroyed and millions of dollars in damages were reported due to the horrendous flooding caused by Tropical Storm Lee.

As roads continue to reopen and the painful cleanup process continues, it is imperative that those affected by flooding know where to turn for assistance.  Anyone that incurred any property damage from the flood should immediately assess and document their damages and compile dollar estimates so that financial assistance can be expedited. 

Anyone with flood insurance should first contact their insurance agents or the National Flood Insurance Program at 1-800-427-4661.

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Association has set up a website with information on how to report damages and the different state and federal programs that may be available to provide financial assistance to those affected.   They have also released this informational document on how to start to safely recover from the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Lee.

Another useful site in assessing damages and looking for assistance is the federal government’s DisasterAssistance.gov page where residents can take a questionnaire that will point them toward programs they qualify for based on their answers. The Federal Emergency Management Agency can also be reached by phone at 1-800-621-3362.

The state has set-up a Web site, www.pahousingsearch.com,  to link displaced homeowners or renters with landlords who have available properties.  Those without Internet service can dial
1-877-428-8844 or TTY771 for the hearing-impaired

Locally, there are many organizations and government programs that are available to assist both residents and businesses in their recovery efforts.  The Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber has set up a website to help local businesses recover from flood damage and allow people to volunteer to assist in the cleanup and recovery.

Volunteers can also sign up to help at Pennsylvania’s ReadyPA website, where you will also find invaluable information on emergency plans and preparation.

If you are unable to volunteer in the cleanup and recovery process but would still like to help those affected, the American Red Cross is currently seeking donations to help local families in their recovery efforts.  Due to the recent rash of flooding caused by both Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, the Red Cross’ resources have been worn thin.   If you would like to make a donation, visit www.redcross.org/, or call the Lackawanna County chapter at (570) 207-0100 or the Wyoming Valley chapter at (570) 823-7161.

In trying times, it is more important than ever to band together and help our friends and families rise above their hardship.   Let me express deep gratitude to the hundreds of volunteers who have been working day and night to assist their neighbors in need and let me also express deep gratitude to the fire departments and other private businesses throughout the 22nd District who have been so responsive by providing water pumps, hoses, machinery, trucks and equipment in the recovery effort.

If I can be of any assistance to your family or friends, do not hesitate to contact one of my offices.  Please be sure to forward this to anyone that you know has been directly affected by the flood to ensure they get the information and the assistance that is available to them.

Emergency Homeowners Assistance Deadline FridayTownhouses

If you are at least 3 months delinquent on your mortgage as a result of involuntary unemployment, under employment, or medical reasons, you could be eligible for the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP).  HUDs Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program (EHLP) can help you save your home. You must be the owner and occupant of the property in foreclosure.  EHLP applications must be delivered to the PHFA office no later than Friday, Sept. 16 at 5 pm.

This is a free service. There is no cost to apply for this help.   For further details, call PHFA at 1.800.342.2397 or click http://www.phfa.org/consumers/homeowners/ehlp.aspx

The following is a list of some of the items you will need to bring with you to the counseling agency meeting:

·        Mortgage statement and or delinquency notice showing you are at least three payments delinquent,
·        Last three years federal tax returns
·        Letter of circumstance explaining why your mortgage is delinquent and documentation to support the delinquency
·        Verification of all current household income
·        account balances and monthly payments on all credit cards, student loans, car loans, etc.
·        Deed to the property
·        Photo identification
·        Proof of real estate taxes and homeowners insurance

This program is different from the state program ---- As of June 30, 2011, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency has stopped accepting applications for HEMAP (The Homeowners’ Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program). This action was taken because budget reductions on the state level were not sufficient to operate the program.

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For updates on this and other legislative initiatives, stay in touch with me on the Internet through my website or on Facebook. Facebook

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