The Federal Emergency Management Agency opened its first Disaster Recovery Center in Brooklyn on Friday morning in Coney Island.
FEMA’s new location at MCU Park joins at least five others already open in the city and on Long Island to help homeowners, renters and small business people with the slow process of cleaning up in Hurricane Sandy’s wake.
According to a FEMA spokeswoman, agency representatives will be accepting applications for residents and business owners for assistance with small business loans for repairing storm damage and temporary housing.
Representatives from the federal Small Business Administration will also be on hand.
The opening of the FEMA's assistance location in Coney Island continued the gradual expansion of clean up and relief efforts by government officials throughout Brooklyn and the rest of the region.
On Thursday, Borough President Marty Markowitz distributed bottled water and food in badly hit Red Hook's Coffey Park with the help of FEMA and the National Guard.
And on Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $100 million in state funds to be distributed to homeowners by 30 FEMA teams in the worst impacted parts of the city and state.
But the pace and distribution of relief efforts was the subject of some criticism.
“There are tens of thousands of Brooklyn residents who need assistance from the federal government," said Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, D-Brooklyn, in a statement released before word of FEMA’s Coney Island location was announced. "FEMA should provide the residents of Brooklyn with the same services as every other affected area by locating a disaster recovery center in our borough.”
In Red Hook, storm-weary workers and residents seemed satisfied with the pace of federal government’s response to the crisis — so far.
“Obama has cut through a lot of red tape,” said Bait & Tackle manager Robby Giordano, who said the Van Brunt Street bar’s beer pumps and cooling systems were destroyed in the flood. “Which is good because a lot of people lost everything.”
FEMA says it hasn’t ruled out opening a location in Red Hook.
“It’s up to local elected officials. But we’re pretty sure there will be others that will be opening,” said the FEMA spokeswoman. “This storm is fairly new, and there will be more help coming.”
The Coney Island FEMA Disaster Recovery Center is located at MCU Park, 1904 Surf Ave.