August 01, 2011

Schumer, Gillibrand Push Feds To Grant Individual Disaster Assistance In Wake Of April Storms & Flooding

In Letter to President Obama and FEMA, Senators Urge Federal Government To Reverse Earlier Decision and Grant Individual Assistance To Homeowners Affected By April Storms

Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand wrote to President Obama and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, urging them to reverse an earlier decision to deny New York counties individual assistance in the wake of flooding from April storms. Schumer and Gillibrand believe the damage from these storms should make Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Herkimer, Oneida, Onondaga, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Tompkins, Warren, Washington, and Yates counties eligible for individual assistance. Their letter of support follows Governor Cuomo’s appeal of the earlier decision not to award individual assistance, despite the fact that counties throughout the state were awarded public assistance for municipalities and businesses that were hit by the storms.

“Families across New York are still rebuilding from these devastating floods that destroyed homes and businesses and impacted individuals deserve assistance to help them get back on their feet and repair or rebuild their homes – especially when their neighbors in Vermont already received this support,” said Schumer. “I will do everything I can to make sure New York's appeal is reviewed quickly and positively so that homeowners in these counties get the assistance they deserve.”

“I am outraged by the latest FEMA decision to deny disaster assistance to upstate New York families and businesses,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Granting similar requests to a neighboring state is unfair and unacceptable. Governor Cuomo is right to appeal FEMA’s decision, and I will fight to help secure the resources we need to help our families and businesses recover.”

The Senators wrote, “As water has receded, officials have been able to draw a clearer picture of the damages this storm has caused. Most notably, an additional two homes have been found to be destroyed, an additional 48 homes have major damage, and another 119 have minor damage. Many of the homeowners denied Individual Assistance share a border with individuals who have been approved for such assistance. The need of residents in these New York counties is just as real and their application just as deserving as other disaster assistance recipients.”

A copy of the letter sent by Senators Schumer and Gillibrand appears below:

August 1, 2011

The Honorable Barack H. Obama

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, DC 20500


The Honorable W. Craig Fugate

Administrator

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Department of Homeland Security

Washington, DC 20472


Dear President Obama and Administrator Fugate:


We write today to urge the approval of New York State’s recent appeal of the denial of Individual Assistance (IA) Programs by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Herkimer, Oneida, Onondaga, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Tompkins, Warren, Washington, and Yates Counties. This denial was issued on July 1, 2011, and pertains to declaration number FEMA-1993-DR-NY.


As indicated in the state’s initial request, the severe storms and flooding that struck these counties inflicted almost $40 million. Federal-State Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDA) showed 17 homes were destroyed, 216 had major damage, and 546 homes experienced minor damage. 


As the New York State Office of Emergency Management indicated in its appeal, at the time of the PDA, many areas within the aforementioned counties was inaccessible. As water has receded, officials have been able to draw a clearer picture of the damages this storm has caused. Most notably, an additional two homes have been found to be destroyed, an additional 48 homes have major damage, and another 119 have minor damage.


Many of the homeowners denied Individual Assistance share a border with individuals who have been approved for such assistance. The need of residents in these New York counties is just as real and their application just as deserving as other disaster assistance recipients.


            At this time, we urge you to quickly approve New York State’s appeal. We look forward to working with you to secure every possible resource to assist these New Yorkers as they recover.


Thank you for your consideration of this important request. Please contact Grant Kerr at 202-224-6542 or Kevin Fink at 202-224-4451 if you have questions or need additional information.




     Sincerely,


Charles E. Schumer                                                                             Kirsten E. Gillibrand

United States Senator                                                                         United States