The State continues to focus on victims of Irene and Lee and now disaster food stamp benefits are available to those in Montgomery and Schenectady counties. Called the Disaster Food Stamp Benefits Program, this temporary help will aid those who were displaced from their homes and have become unemployed because of the storms. To learn more about the program and to apply, call (800) 342-3009 or contact your local Department of Social Services.
I also wanted to update you on the progress of the newly created State Agricultural and Community Recovery Fund, aid that will be used by soil and water conservation districts to assist with agricultural infrastructure, mitigation of stream banks, and drainage and sewer rehabilitation. Montgomery County Soil & Water District is receiving $153,250 from this fund to help with gravel and debris removal from crop lands, stabilize stream banks, and create vegetative buffer plantings. Saratoga County Soil and Water will receive $30,000 to replace main access roads and large culvert crossings. Schenectady County Soil & Water District will obtain $26,000 for debris removal, stabilizing stream banks and implementing erosion control practices. Individual farmers are still strongly encourage to contact FEMA, USDA’s Farm Service Agency, and the Small Business Administration.
Grants from the New York Council for the Humanities will be available to libraries, museums and historic sites affected by the flooding. These specialized grants of up to $1,000 are available to defray staffing costs that are related to storm clean-up. More information and applications are available at www.nyhumanities.org/grants/recovery.php
A reminder for those in Montgomery and Schenectady Counties, FEMA Disaster Assistance Centers are still open at the Riverfront Center’s parking lot in Amsterdam and in the Rotterdam Square Mall. If you have not applied for FEMA assistance, I strongly urge you to go now before their offices close. If you cannot travel to these centers, call FEMA at (800) 621-3362.