PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Federal and state officials today began getting financial help to Philadelphia residents who suffered property damage from Hurricane Irene.

A disaster recovery center opened in center city and will stay open, officials say, as long as necessary.

The first client, when the center officially opened, was a woman who identified herself as “Sweet Tina.” She says the storm soaked her basement and left a mess.

“I didn’t have any choice but to come to FEMA,” she told KYW Newsradio. “Thank God for FEMA, because aside from that I wouldn’t get any help.”

FEMA spokesman Mike Wade says the level of assistance is decided individually for each case.

“Every individual is so different, and we tell people, ‘If you have a question, talk to FEMA about your issue. Don’t talk to your neighbor, because what your neighbor may or may not have gotten is entirely different than what you may be eligible for.’ ”

The center, at 15th and Sansom Streets, will be open 10am to 7pm, seven days a week, indefinitely.

A center for Montgomery County residents will open on Wednesday at the Public Training Campus in Conshohocken.

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio 1060

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