Congressman Vito Fossella (R-NY) today announced that the temporary Staten Island Victim’s Compensation Fund Help Center will be located on the campus of the College of Staten Island beginning the week of March 25. Fossella arranged for the opening of the Center last month to assist the families of September 11.

The Help Center will be staffed by four to five representatives of the Special Master’s Office and be open Monday, March 25 to Friday, March 29 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 30, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Help Center will be located on the grounds of the College of Staten Island (2800 Victory Blvd.) in Building 1P (CSI Center for the Arts).

Families who wish to meet with a counselor are urged to make an
appointment by calling 703-633-4761. Walk-in service is also available, but is first-come, first-served. Families who meet with a counselor will not be required to enroll in the Victim’s Compensation Fund. The Help Center is purely for informational purposes.

“The Help Center will give every family the opportunity to meet directly with a representative of the Special Master about the Fund,” Fossella said. “It appears that many people are still unsure about certain aspects of the plan and how it affects their families. The counselors will
be able to walk each of them through the regulations on a case-by-case basis and answer all of their questions. It is tragic that Staten Island lost so many people on September 11, and we want to do all we can to make this process as convenient for them as possible.”

“During these difficult times, it is especially important that we all help each other when and where we can,” said College of Staten Island President Dr. Marlene Springer. “CSI continues to grieve for the losses suffered by so many Staten Island families as we contribute energetically to the process of rebuilding our community. By working with Congressman Fossella and hosting the Help Center, we hope to make this time a little easier for friends and neighbors profoundly affected by the tragedy of September 11.”

The counselors will review the financial information of families and offer an estimated amount of compensation they would receive if they opt into the federal plan. The counselors will also be able to discuss unique circumstances of potential claimants.

The Help Center counselors will be located in their own classrooms or conference rooms to guarantee each family complete privacy. A waiting area will also be available for families to relax before meeting with a counselor. The counselors are expected to be equipped with computers that are connected to the Special Master’s main network. In addition, families will be able to obtain, among other information, the final regulations, eligibility forms, applications and fact sheets.

Fossella first raised the idea of establishing a temporary Help Center on Staten Island with the Special Master’s Office last week. The Center at the College of Staten Island is the first temporary facility to be established in the nation. The Special Master’s Office operates permanent Help Center’s in Manhattan and Long Island; Jersey City and Edison, New Jersey; Arlington, Virginia; Boston, Massachusetts, and Stamford, Connecticut.