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Citizens Union

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•  How To Get Relief and Aid
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Ground Zero

How To Get Relief and Aid

For those seeking assistance after September 11, there are many places to find help. Here is a listing of the most useful places to find financial assistance via charities, as well as other information on relief.

For General Disaster Assistance:

The Disaster Assistance Service Center:
Disaster Assistance Service Center is located at 141 Worth Street (at Centre Street) and 51 Chambers Street in lower Manhattan. The Center is staffed by many agencies including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the city's Human Resources Administration, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Safe Horizon/September 11th Fund. Visitors to the Center can meet one-on-one with program representatives who will evaluate their individual needs, check on the status of their application or update their registration information. The centers will provide professional childcare for applicants during their visits.

The 141 Worth Street Center is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The centers provide services to workers in the WTC area who have lost their jobs as a result of the tragedy and residents of the area who have temporarily or permanently lost their housing.

To Get Financial Assistance Due To Unemployment Resulting From September 11:

The September 11th Fund:
Established by the New York Community Trust and United Way of New York City, this organization has the most comprehensive information about seeking grants and relief for anyone requiring financial assistance due to the events of September 11. Their list of resources for financial assistance contains information on each of the different oragnizations, governmental and non-profit, that are distributing aid and grants to individual workers or businesses affected by September 11.

Note: the deadline for applying for relief through the September 11 Fund is Friday, March 8! To qualify for relief through the American Red Cross in Greater New York, The Salvation Army and Safe Horizon, make sure to schedule an appointment before Friday, March 8. The appointment does not need to take place before then - it must be scheduled by the March 8 deadline.

For Displaced Residents Seeking Housing or Financial Assistance:

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):
FEMA has a variety of programs available to provide financial assistance to those impacted by the WTC attacks. FEMA programs could cover such expenses as housing, lost clothing/property, medical supplies, etc. FEMA funds cover expenses not covered by personal insurance.

For more information about their programs, go to FEMA's page on Individual Assistance Programs.

To Apply For A Grant To Live Downtown:

Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Assistance Grant Plan Draft:
The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation presents a plan in draft form for providing financial assistance to individuals downtown. Includes information on the housing grants available to downtown residents or prospective tenants. Read the rules for applying for one of these grants. This plan is still subject to approval.

For Legal Assistance:

Trial Lawyers Care, Inc.:
Free legal services are available to victims and family members of the September 11 attacks who seek compensation under the new federal September 11 Victim Compensation Fund. Register with Trial Lawyers Care by telephone 1-888-780-8637 (English), 1-888-780-8682 (Espanol) or online at

Legal Aid Society:
The Legal Aid Society is assisting individuals and families affected by the World Trade Center tragedy. Legal help is provided in areas such as small business and tax, guardianship, custody, and adoption, benefits, housing, death certificates, and small estates. The Legal Aid Society's September 11th hotline can be reached at 212-426-3070. The Society's Immigration Law Unit (718-722-3100) is providing legal services to immigrants.

Legal Services for New York (LSNY):
LSNY's September 11 Project is providing assistance to low-income households that have legal needs arising out of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center. A central intake number - (212) 431-7200, extension 152 - takes referrals from other organizations, including bar associations, social services organizations, unions and advocacy groups. LSNY provides legal assistance in a wide variety of civil matters, including housing, family law, government benefits, education law and consumer matters. Clients eligible for LSNY services are low income individuals, families and community groups whose legal problem(s) stem from the events of September 11th.