Bush releases tornado relief funds to Brooklyn

The White House has changed course and asked the Federal Emergency Management Administration to release relief funds to residents of Bay Ridge whose homes and cars were damaged in the Aug. 8 tornado, The Brooklyn Paper has learned.

Rep. Vito Fossella (R–Bay Ridge), who kept the heat on federal officials after they allocated relief funds only to Queens homeowners after the vicious storm, told us on Friday afternoon that FEMA had decided to also designate Bay Ridge for “federal disaster assistance.”

“We have been speaking with federal officials on a near daily basis to demonstrate that our borough needed federal help to recover [and] this designation will allow Brooklynites … to apply for financial assistance from the federal government.

“The damage throughout our community was widespread and significant,” he continued. “I want to thank FEMA for responding to our request and for providing a helping hand to affected Brooklynites.”

To apply for financial assistance, affected residents should call (800) 621–FEMA or visit www.fema.gov.

Businesses that were also victims of the tornado — be the only one to hit Bay Ridge since meteorologists started keeping records — can apply for federally backed loans through the Small Business Administration to repair or replace property not covered by insurance.

Business owners should contact the Small Business Administration directly at (800) 659-2955 or by downloading the loan application from the agency’s Web site at www.sba.gov.