August 31, 2011

Schumer, Gillibrand Urge President To Quickly Declare Remaining NY Counties Eligible For Disaster Assistance

Families, Businesses In Counties Spanning from Long Island, NYC, Hudson Valley, Capital Region, North Country Hit Hard By Irene Need Federal Aid

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today urged President Obama and FEMA Administrator Fugate to quickly declare remaining counties in New York State eligible for Individual and Public Assistance. For Individual Assistance, these counties include Bronx, Clinton, Columbia, Kings, Montgomery, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Rensselaer, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Warren, Washington and Westchester. For Public Assistance, these include the counties of Columbia, Kings, Orange, Putnam, Schenectady, Sullivan and Washington. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand wrote to President Obama and Administrator Fugate yesterday urging their swift approval for New York State’s request for a major disaster declaration to release federal funds to help individuals and communities recover from Hurricane Irene.

“President Obama made the right decision declaring New York State a major disaster area,” said Schumer and Gillibrand. “This will start to put more of the resources we need on the ground to help families, businesses and communities dig out from this devastating storm. But more New Yorkers across our state continue to suffer and are in dire need of help. These families and businesses need every last bit of federal assistance, and we will continue to fight hard to get New Yorkers all the tools and resources we need to recover.”

Individual assistance includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. Public assistance includes emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities.

Federal funding has also been made available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. All Counties in the State of New York are eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

The senators’ full letter to President Obama and FEMA Administrator Fugate:

 

Dear President Obama and Administrator Fugate,

Thank you for your prompt response to the request made by New York State by issuing a Major Disaster Declaration.  As you are aware, the extent of damage across New York is severe, and warrants the full extent of federal resources that are available to meet the needs of the millions of individuals affected by Hurricane Irene.

I am writing out of concern for several counties included in Governor Cuomo’s request for an expedited Major Disaster Declaration, but have not yet been designated for Individual and Public Assistance.  For Individual Assistance, these counties include Bronx, Clinton, Columbia, Kings, Montgomery, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Rensselaer, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Warren, Washington and Westchester.  For Public Assistance, these include the counties of Columbia, Kings, Orange, Putnam, Schenectady, Sullivan and Washington.

The damage and devastation in these counties is significant, and will require resources beyond what local and state governments are able to provide.  These counties have experienced major property damage, road, bridge, railroad track and other infrastructure damage, which has caused residences and businesses to be inaccessible for emergency services.  Communities are experiencing sewer and water line damage, causing sanitation and public health concerns.  Individuals in many of these counties still do not have electricity and some counties have experienced oil and natural gas leaks. 

As the local, state and federal governments continue to assess the damage throughout New York State, I urge you to ensure that these counties not yet designated, but which were included in the governor’s request and have also experienced widespread damage, are considered for prompt designation for Individual and Public Assistance, pursuant to the Stafford Act. 

Thank you again for your attention to this urgent matter. 

Sincerely,
 

Charles E. Schumer                                       Kirsten E. Gillibrand                                   

United States Senator                                  United States Senator