Seward Announces New Comprehensive $25 Million Flood Relief Package
Senator James L. Seward and Governor George E. Pataki today announced that an additional $25 million in new aid would be made available to residents and small and large businesses affected by the devastating flooding that occurred last week in Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Orange, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga and Ulster counties. The new aid package would build on the $35 million State Disaster Relief Program announcedlast week.
The governor also announced that two additional disaster assistance service centers will open Chenango and Tioga counties on Friday morning to assist victims of last week’s devastating floods. The addition of these two centers brings to eight the total number of fixed-site locations opened since Monday.
"The additional funding will be critical to helping our communities get back on their feet," Senator Seward said. "I applaud the governor's concern and his quick action to assemble a funding program."
"When disasters strike, New Yorkers always pull together to provide compassion, relief, and support,"Governor Pataki said. "As New York begins to recover from last week’s devastating flooding, we continue working to provide the critical assistance necessary to help affected communities and individuals get back on their feet as quickly as possible. A key component of that effort is ensuring that affected homeowners and businesses have the resources they need to recover and move forward as quickly as possible. Our new $25 million aid package will help provide direct and immediate relief to residents and businesses throughout the flood ravaged areas."
$25 Million Comprehensive Flood Relief Package
The state's comprehensive flood relief package is designed to supplement existing federal disaster relief programs and address potential gaps in insurance coverage and eligibility for residents, small and large businesses that were impacted by last week’s flooding. The $25 million package will provide timely assistance to facilitate relief and recovery efforts.
A key component of the package is $12 million from Empire State Development Corporation’s Urban and Community Development Program, which builds on the state Individual and Family Grant Program announced by Governor Pataki last week. This funding is designed to provide grants of up to $20,000 to small businesses for clean-up, repair, and replacement of lost inventory. Small businesses qualifying for the Department of Labor’s $5,000 State Individual and Family Grant Program are eligible for this new additional aid to help with restoration costs not covered by other grants or insurance.
The governor is also making available $10 million in discretionary Economic Development Fund Grants for non-retail businesses suffering substantial damage and employing more than 100 employees. The grants would supplement potential gaps in coverage of private insurance and federal aid for the repair and/or replacement of equipment and the loss of real property. The grants would be made available through New York’s Empire State Development Corporation.
To supplement potential gaps in insurance coverage and federal assistance, $3 million from the Governor’s Office for Small Cities (GOSC) will be made available to residents impacted by the flooding for grants of up to $2500 to assist with immediate housing needs caused by flooding. GOSC will work with local governments to disburse the funds to eligible recipients.
The governor also announced today the opening of two new disaster assistance service center locations in Chenango and Tioga Counties.
"We are doing everything possible to make available the full array of state, federal and local resources to help the victims of these unprecedented floods," Governor Pataki said. "We will continue working with our federal and local partners to get New Yorkers the assistance they need."
The disaster assistance service centers (DASCs) give homeowners, renters and small business owners the opportunity to meet face-to-face with representatives from state, federal and local agencies and volunteer organizations to discuss and access disaster recovery assistance. More than 2,000 people have visited the centers since they began operating on July 3rd.
The two new disaster assistance service centers will open Friday at 9 a.m. and will be at the following county locations:
Chenango County: Bainbridge Municipal Building, West Main Street, Bainbridge, NY
Tioga County: Owego-Apalachin CSD Middle School, 3 Sheldon Guile Blvd., Owego, NY
The centers will be open until 8 p.m. Friday. After Friday, the centers will operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., including weekends, until further notice.
The governor also announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has deployed a mobile DASC to support the state center at the Walton High School in Delaware County. Another mobile unit opened at 1 p.m. today in Broome County at the Susquehanna Valley High School, 1040 Conklin Road in Conklin. Applicants who do not have access to a phone or computer can register in the mobile units, which are equipped with phone lines and computer access. Both mobile units will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
Centers in five other counties, which opened earlier this week, continue in operation from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily until further notice. Their locations are:
*Broome County: Binghamton High School, 31 Main Street, Binghamton, NY;
*Delaware County: Walton High School, 47-49 Stockton Avenue, Walton, NY;
*Herkimer County: Herkimer BOCES, 352 Gros Blvd., Herkimer, NY;
*Montgomery County: Fonda-Fultonville CSD Campus (Middle School), 112 Old Johnstown Road, Fonda, NY;
*Otsego County: SUNY Campus, Lee Hall, Ravena Parkway, Oneonta, NY.
The following agencies are providing staff to the various centers include the State Department of Labor, State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, State Department of Insurance, State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, State Office of Children and Family Services, State and/or County Office of Mental Health, County Social Services, Empire State Development Corporation, FEMA, American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Small Business Administration.
Today's announcement of $25 million in state support builds on the governor's commitment last week of a $35 million disaster relief program designed to supplement existing federal disaster relief programs and address gaps in coverage and eligibility for individuals and families and municipalities impacted by the flooding. The aid package is providing timely assistance to facilitate relief and recovery efforts.
In addition, the state is assuming the localities' share of costs under the Federal Emergency Management Authority's (FEMA) Public Assistance Program. Typically, the FEMA program reimburses localities for 75 percent of the costs to repair public infrastructure damaged by major disasters, with the state and local community splitting the remaining 25 percent. Under the Governor’s Disaster Relief program, the state pays the customary 12.5 percent locality share, providing needed budgetary relief for municipalities in flood impacted regions.
The state is also assuming the local share of FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Program, which traditionally has localities paying 25 percent of the costs of projects designed to mitigate future disasters. Under this aid package, the state covers the 25 percent costs, providing budgetary relief to affected municipalities. The governor has also requested that New York's Congressional delegation take the necessary action to have the federal government support this program by reimbursing the state for these expenditures.
Both the state's $25 million flood relief aid package and the $35 million disaster relief program build on the numerous federal programs already in place to help those affected by floods or other disasters.
At the governor’s request, 12 counties have been declared eligible for FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program. Those counties are: Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Orange, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga and Ulster.
The Individual Assistance Program provides assistance to homeowners, renters and small businesses through the Individual and Households program, disaster unemployment assistance, crisis counseling and Small Business Administration disaster loans. The disaster aid includes grants for rental assistance, home repairs, and other disaster-related needs. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are available for those who qualify. Federal and State disaster assistance covers basic needs that are not insured.
Individuals can register for federal disaster aid by calling FEMA’s toll-free registration number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those who are hearing or speech impaired may call TTY at 1-800-462-7585. Phone lines are open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Flood victims may also register for disaster assistance on-line at www.fema.gov.
A toll-free hotline was established by Governor Pataki to assist flood victims with the State Individual and Family Grant (IFG) applications. The phone number is 1-888-7-NYS-AID (1-888-769-7243). Operators are available from Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Since the toll-free hotline went operational Monday morning, 1,447 calls have been received through last night
Individuals can also contact the Commission for Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (CQCAPD) information and referral line at 1 800 - 522 -4369 /TTY: Dial NYS Relay 711 for information and technical assistance and to be directed to a provider in their geographic area that may be able to further provide assistance. These community resources may have specific local information, such as lists of accessible housing or locations of specific medical service providers.
Applications for the state grant program, administered by the State Labor Department, are available at Disaster Assistance Service Centers and on the web at www.labor.state.ny.us