Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce FEMA Has Approved Major Disaster Declaration For New York State For March’s Winter Storm Stella

Jul 12, 2017

Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that following their push, the Trump Administration issued a Major Disaster Declaration for New York State as a result of damages caused by Winter Storm Stella. The declaration releases FEMA public assistance and hazard mitigation funds to cover emergency work, repairs and replacement of disaster-damaged facilities, as well as make long-term improvements to reduce the impact of future disasters.

“Communities across Upstate New York were devastated by this historic snowstorm, and these crucial funds are critical to their recovery,” said Senator Schumer. “I am pleased FEMA heeded my calls by agreeing to help affected communities to get back on their feet after this devastating Winter Storm.”

“The disaster declaration for the State of New York unlocks critical FEMA funds and assistance to help families and communities recover from the devastation caused by Winter Storm Stella,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We must always put all the necessary resources on the ground to help families and local businesses rebuild and get back on their feet. I will continue to fight for additional resources to make sure communities receive the assistance they need.”

In March, Schumer and Gillibrand called on Acting FEMA Administrator Robert Fenton to stand ready to quickly approve any request from New York State for federal support following Winter Storm Stella and to approve any forthcoming requests from the state to send in FEMA officials to conduct a Preliminary Damage Assessment, which is the first step in the declaration process following a disaster. In June, Schumer and Gillibrand called on Acting FEMA Administrator Robert Fenton to approve the request that the state submitted for disaster assistance.

Federal funds will now be made available to state and local governments, as well as certain non-profit organizations, to reimburse costs incurred for emergency work and the repair or replacement of damaged facilities. This funding is available on a cost-sharing basis; FEMA generally covers at least 75 percent of the eligible costs for permanent and emergency work. For projects funded through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), the federal government can cover up to 75 percent of the eligible costs of each project. States may choose to develop an Enhanced State Mitigation Plan in order to receive an increased amount of up to 20 percent for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding.

The disaster declaration covers Albany, Broome, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Orleans, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Suffolk, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins, and Ulster counties. All areas in New York State are eligible for assistance under HMGP.