Could Flood Victims Get More Aid From FEMA?

By Gabe Osterhout

July 22, 2010 Updated Jun 15, 2007 at 2:23 PM EDT

86 year old Mary Anne Ulco lived in her house for 40 years before it flooded for the first time.

4 feet of water rose into her first floor.

"The reimbursement we got from FEMA was a very, very small portion of what our expenses were. Of course, many people, as it was with myself, it came out of our retirement. We had no mortgage," says Ulco of Conklin.

Depending on their damage, FEMA paid property owners between 5 and 11 thousand dollars.

But in October, 3 months later, FEMA increased disaster aid amounts.

Now, people can get up to 28-thousand.

"People have pulled out of retirement. They have credit card debt. They've taken out loans. They should have been entitled to get more money based on the new FEMA guidelines and we want retroactive resolution to do that," says Flood Victim Advocate Greg Jenkins.

Jenkins worked much of the past year at the Conklin Presbyterian Church recovery center.

Now, he's started a project to get homeowners to fill out these surveys on their repair costs and debt.

He'll send them to FEMA to lobby for additional flood aid.

One homeowner feels most homeowners were short changed.

"If they came through with their FEMA assessment crews and they assessed everything and said OK, this person needs X amount of dollars here and they did it in real terms, instead of generic terms, I guess you would say, everybody would have gotten the money they deserved," says Gary Todd of Conklin.

Jenkins wants people who fill out the survey to know, getting more money is a long shot.

He hopes to get the support of the state's lawmakers in Washington to get FEMA to consider more aid.

To get a copy of the survey:

Go to the Broome County Council of Churches building at 3 Otsiningo Street in Binghamton.

Or the Conklin Town Hall.

Or you can email Jenkins at gljoutdoors @ netscape.net.

Jenkins is hoping to collect as many surveys as possible by the end of June.

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