KINGSTON, NY – Over the coming week, Ulster County Departments, in coordination with the state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, will deploy Disaster Assistance Centers to help residents with storm recovery needs and insurance claims, County Executive Pat Ryan said Thursday.
During a briefing broadcast live on FacebookRyan said more than 46,000 homes were without power following the ice storm that hit on Thursday, February 3.
“We’ve scoured the history books here, as far as we could, and we really haven’t been able to find another event like this with this level of ice accumulation. With so much attention just in Ulster County and with so much damage. At one point, we had over 46,000 of our households, more than half of the households in the county, many of them for several days (without power),” he said.
Ryan said the centers will be staffed by the state Department of Financial Services and the Ulster County Departments of Social Services and Mental Health and the Office for the Aging, with veterans services on call.
“While our power has thankfully returned, many of our residents are still dealing with the devastating effects of last weekend’s ice storm,” Ryan said.
“The good news, number one, is that we weathered the storm,” Ryan said of the storm, adding that the county was continuing to work to bring fewer than a dozen remaining homes without power.
He said Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. confirmed that its field force of over 1,000 line and tree workers is the largest it has ever deployed “for any incident, including [Superstorm] sand and [Hurricane] Irene and other winter events.
Ryan said “many, many families”, including landlords and renters, continue to deal with “extensive storm damage”. Beyond the loss of electricity, the executive cited losses to homes, property and businesses. “We know there are hundreds, or thousands, even tens of thousands of people sorting through this and trying to clean this up.”
Due to the “unprecedented level of damage,” Ryan said the county is working with Governor Kathy Hochul and New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray. and county departments to mobilize recovery.
The team will be deployed to Kingston, Rosendale and Woodstock – the hardest hit areas of the county with assistance in filing damage insurance claims and accessing other funds, and dealing with other issues.
At the centers, residents will be offered information about the county and other disaster assistance programs as well as answers to questions related to filing insurance claims or other assistance, Ryan said.
Some of the services that disaster assistance centers will provide include advice regarding disaster recovery assistance and programs for survivors; answers to questions, resolution of problems and referrals to organizations that may provide further assistance; housing assistance and information on rental resources; and mental health services.
The centers will operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning Friday at Kingston City Hall and will continue at the following locations:
• Friday, February 11 and Monday, February 14, at Kingston City Hall, Council Chambers, 420 Broadway, Kingston;
• Tuesday, February 15 and Wednesday, February 16, at the Rosendale Community Center, 1055 State Route 32, Rosendale; and
• Thursday February 17 and Friday February 18 at the Woodstock Community Centre, 56 Rock City Road, Woodstock.
For public transport to the centers, visit https://ucat.ulstercountyny.gov/. If you cannot travel, call the Department of Financial Services Disaster Helpline at (800) 339-1759 for financial assistance, or the Ulster County Recovery Service Center at (845) 443-8888 for county services.