Pelosi to Visit East Haven FEMA Center

The East Haven center is one of two new FEMA locations set up to help residents.

Nancy Pelosi will be making a stop in East Haven Friday.

The Democratic Congresswoman from California and former Speaker of the House will be visiting one of two new FEMA centers to open in Connecticut.

Besides the East Haven FEMA center, another opened in Guilford Thursday. The goal of the centers is to provide residents affected by Tropical Storm Irene with the help they need.

Sally Hopkins was one of the first people to walk into the new FEMA center in East Haven. With documentation in hand, she sat down with a representative to discuss her predicament.

“I rent the first floor of a two family house that burned down after the power came back on, and I'm not getting any satisfaction from my insurance, from my landlord, from no one,” said Hopkins.

Hopkins and many others in East Haven are searching for answers and looking to see if FEMA can help as they clean up from the devastation Irene left behind. After an hour-long meeting, Hopkins got the answers she needed.

“I have some homework to do, they gave me all the resources I needed. They're really good in there. They gave me a lot of help, lot of help,” said Hopkins.

However, not all homeowners are as lucky. Many are frustrated at the lack of answers from FEMA and their insurance companies.

“How can I rebuild? When can I rebuild? I don't know. I can't keep coming down and looking at this. It's too awful,” said Sara Ann Auerbach.

In some cases FEMA's hands are tied. The agency doesn't provide financial relief for secondary homes.

“The mission of FEMA is to help people return to a safe and sanitary living condition in their primary residence, so their secondary residences are not covered under the law,” said Darrell Habisch, a FEMA spokesperson.

As far as the insurance claims go, East Haven Mayor April Capone says if people are having trouble, they should contact her office. She's working with the Connecticut Insurance Commissioner and the Attorney General to make sure residents are getting the money they deserve.

“What I would ask is that people contact my office, send an email. We want the who, what, where, when and why,” said Capone.

But some are skeptical about what the insurance companies can even offer.

“It's very disappointing. The insurance, even if they paid in full, are going to leave us short of funds to rebuild,” said Andy Weinstein.

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