Niagara Gazette

July 24, 2013

State recovery team sets up shop in city hall parking lot as residents flood in to report damage

By Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Friday night's thunderstorms left area residents on alert or, even worse, under water. Now the state is beginning the process of lending a hand, financially.

George Haggerty, New York's deputy secretary for financial services, brought his mobile command center to the parking lot of Niagara Falls City Hall Wednesday for the first of two days designed to help any resident address financial concerns from any flooding or other damage caused by the violent rains, winds and lightning during the event.

Day one pulled in more than 650 residents, a count Haggerty said was impressive. There's one more day for those affected to start the process of filing claims, as the center will again be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, also at city hall.

"They should bring anything they think is relevant," Haggerty said of those who still wish to file claims. "Everyone's situation is different. Some people are renters, some are homeowners. So they need to bring what they think is relevant. Whether it's an Insurance policy, medical bills, anything they think will help us get a generalized sense of what value they lost."

Though the center was set up by Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, Haggerty said workers were able to also process residents from outside the city's limits. Residents from North Tonawanda, Wheatfield and other towns were processed without question Wednesday.

The same can be expected today as well, he said.

"It was set up by the mayor ... but it has expanded beyond that," he said. "We've helped people from North Tonawanda, some people from Wheatfield. We're not turning people away."

Unable to attend either on-site offer? The city has set up, with the Niagara County's assistance, a flood hotline. For more information, call 286-4300.

Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.