Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York States Housing Recovery Program will fully compensate homeowners affected by Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, and Superstorm Sandy for the repair costs of damage to their homes due to earth movement. Under FEMAs existing National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) regulations, damage caused by the movement of soil or earth even if the movement is the result of flooding is not eligible for coverage. In comparison, physical damage to a building caused directly by flood waters is covered under NFIP. As a result of this gap in coverage, hundreds of impacted homeowners throughout the state have had their NFIP claims denied, leaving many with no place to live and no resources to rebuild.
Over the last few years, we experienced three once-in-a-century storms that wreaked an unprecedented level of devastation in communities across the state, Governor Cuomo said. While we have made much progress in recovering from Irene, Lee and Sandy, many New Yorkers are still left without a place to call home and limited resources to rebuild due to National Flood Insurance Program regulations, which state that homes damaged by earth movement are not covered. Yet it simply does not make sense that some New Yorkers who were just as hard hit by the same storms as others cannot be compensated for their losses. That is why the State is stepping up to bridge this unfair gap in insurance coverage. Under our Housing Recovery Program, homeowners will be fully compensated for all repairs of damage. We are pleased to deliver this assistance so that all New Yorkers can move forward on the path to a full recovery.
Many New Yorkers were hopeful that they would be covered since they had purchased flood insurance, said Director of the Governors Office of Storm Recovery, Seth Diamond. However, they were unaware of this NFIP rule regarding earth movements. As a result, these homeowners did not receive the assistance they were seeking, and many who did not have the resources to rebuild on their own are still not back in their homes. Now, these residents will be eligible to receive funding through the States home rebuilding program instead, and their eligible rebuilding costs will be covered.
The State will continue to conduct outreach to homeowners to ensure that those interested can apply for assistance. In addition, the Office of Storm Recovery will provide technical assistance to the communities under the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program to evaluate and determine if local resiliency measures could assist with limiting the impact of earth movements. For more information, call 1-855-697-7263 or visit www.stormrecovery.ny.gov.
Governor Cuomo created the Office of Storm Recovery in June 2013 to centralize recovery and rebuilding efforts in storm affected municipalities throughout the State. In close collaboration with local and community leaders in these areas, the Office is working to respond to communities most urgent rebuilding needs while also identifying long-term and innovative solutions to strengthen the States infrastructure and critical systems for the future. Storm Recovery programs include the Recreate NY Smart Home program, which provides homeowners with assistance for home repairs/rehabilitation, mitigation and elevation, and buyouts, and the Small Business program, which provides small business grants of $50,000 or more, as well as low-interest loans.