Advances Legislation to Make Up to $7 Million Available for Repair and Replacement of Flood Damaged Homes
Launches Three-Month Rental Assistance Program for Displaced Residents
Fast-Tracks Repair of Flood-Damaged Berm
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a three part plan to rebuild the Underwood Estates mobile home community in Plattsburgh that was damaged after an ice jam caused the Saranac River to flood earlier this month. The Governor's comprehensive plan will provide both immediate and long-term support to the Plattsburgh community and help protect against future extreme weather damage.
"New Yorkers know Mother Nature's wrath all too well, and when members of the New York family are in need, we step in and step up to help," Governor Cuomo said. "This community will not have to worry about keeping a roof over their heads as we develop long-term solutions to help them recover and build back stronger and smarter."
Since mid-January, wildly fluctuating temperatures have caused more than 50 ice jams across the state. State agencies have been deployed to assess the severe weather damage and have been working with local officials throughout the state to mitigate flooding near rivers and streams. In Plattsburgh, at the Underwood Estates where a berm was partially damaged, nearly 70 single-wide mobile homes were evacuated after ice jam-related flooding of the Saranac River.
To help the community recover and rebuild, Governor Cuomo will:
- advance a program bill to make up to $7 million available to repair and replace damaged homes
- provide up to three months of rental payment assistance to help displaced residents find safe, affordable housing elsewhere in Clinton County
- fast-track the reconstruction of the damaged protective berm on the property
Legislation to Repair and Replace Flood Damaged Homes
Governor Cuomo will advance a program bill to modify the existing Homes and Community Renewal Mobile and Manufactured Home Replacement Program to make up to $7 million available to residents of Underwood Estates to repair or replace damaged homes. The legislation will amend the existing program to serve residents of Underwood Estates that own their homes, but lease the land, as the current program only serves individuals that own both the home and the land. Residents of Underwood Estates will be eligible to receive an award of up to $100,000 to replace or repair their home. Awards are distributed through non-profit partners that work with mobile home manufacturers and homeowners. The average cost to replace a home in the region is $50,000.
Launch Three Month Rental Assistance Program
New York State Homes and Community Renewal, in partnership with Clinton County and the non-profit Housing Assistance Program of Essex County and Clinton County Housing Assistance Program (HAPEC/CCHAP), are providing grant funding for emergency rental assistance to displaced residents of Underwood Estates.
State funds that will be disbursed by HAPEC/CCHAP will cover a security deposit and up to 100 percent of rent payments up to the maximum Section 8 standard for the region and household size. Federal law limits the subsidy to three months. According to Clinton County, at least 20 homes are currently uninhabitable. Rental subsidy applications are available online and at the Clinton County Emergency Services Offices, and at 24 Margaret Street, Suite 7 in Plattsburgh.
Expedite the Reconstruction of a Berm
The Governor also announced that the reconstruction of the berm that protects Underwood Estates from Saranac River flooding will be fast-tracked to protect against future severe weather. DEC technical staff will assist the local property owner with siting and expedite any necessary permitting of the berm to maximize its flood protection benefits.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Governor Cuomo is working quickly to ensure our neighbors have the support they need during a difficult time. We are proud to work with our partners to ensure the displaced residents of Underwood Estates are able to find safe, affordable places to call home. We will continue to work with our partners in government to develop a recovery plan that will strengthen this community against future flooding."
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Roger Parrino Sr. said, "I applaud the Governor for making this funding available to families affected by flooding so they can begin the road to recovery. We will continue our support for as long as it takes to get the job done."
New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas said, "I am proud of the hard work DOT crews did in helping to mitigate the effects of ice jams in Plattsburgh. Governor Cuomo's swift action to coordinate a team response with our local partners kept New Yorkers safe."
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "When natural disasters strike, New Yorkers act to help neighbors in need. Through the Governor's leadership and direction, our expert staff have continued to assist in monitoring ice jams across the state and stand ready to help any communities like Plattsburgh recover quickly through technical assistance in repairing flood protection structures and expediting permits. We look forward to helping the Plattsburgh community and our partner agencies rebuild their community."
HAPEC/CCHAP will review applications and administer the rental subsidy program on the ground. Residents will be asked to fill out a simple application, and provide proof of residency in Underwood Estates.
New landlords receiving the subsidy will also be asked to complete a simple application. Subsidy payment, which can also include security deposits that must be returned to the State, will be made directly to landlords. For those staying with friends and family, the rent payment can be made to the de facto landlord as a rent contribution. HAPEC/CCHAP, Friends of North Country and the Red Cross will help displaced individuals identify rental options.
The State has also established a one-stop shop at the Clinton County Emergency Services Offices to help residents identify rental options and fill out the applications. Representatives from the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Home and Community Renewal, Department of Financial Services, HAPEC/CCHAP and other local entities will be on site to assist. This resource will be available 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Sunday February 4.
Senator Betty Little said, "The residents of Underwood Estates need and deserve our help to recover from the terrible flooding. When I toured to see the damage to this community last weekend, I left determined to find solutions that will help these people put their lives back together. Working with Governor Cuomo, Mayor Read, and various state agencies, I am glad to say today that we are acting quickly to ensure that they have a place to call home for the short and the long-term."
Assemblymember Billy Jones said, "Action was necessary to address this issue and today's announcement brings a sign of relief for the residents of Underwood Estates. Ensuring that residents are provided a safe and secure living environment has been our top priority. I am thankful to the all the local leaders including Mayor Read, Senator Little and the governors' office who have strongly advocated to help those displaced by the flooding, get back on their feet."
Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read said, "Residents of our city were displaced by flooding and in need of assistance. But, they weren't forgotten. I am thankful that Governor Cuomo has acted swiftly to ensure that the residents of Underwood Estates who lost their homes to this tragedy won't need to worry about keeping a roof over their heads while we all continue to work together to help them recover."
Clinton County Legislative Chairman Harry McManus said, "Clinton County is proud to partner with Governor Cuomo to make sure that the residents of Underwood Estates have a place to call home after they have been through so much. It is in times of great need that we must place the highest priority on working together to provide help."
This housing support is the latest in New York State's efforts to assist residents of Plattsburgh and help them recover. At the direction of Governor Cuomo, support to Clinton County and the City of Plattsburgh has already included:
- Over 480 prefilled sandbags deployed to Clinton County from the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. These sandbags were transported to the affected mobile home park by the state Department of Transportation;
- Prepositioned State Assets at the Plattsburgh State Stockpile, including 83 generators, 25 light towers, 123 pumps, over 90,000 sandbags, 36,000 ready to eat meals, nearly 1,000 cots, over 1,300 blankets and over 1,400 pillows;
- Activations of National Guard personnel to be ready to support localities with potential flooding caused by ice jams, including 13 personnel with four vehicles from the 2-108th Infantry in Plattsburgh;
- Department of Environmental Conservation assessed displaced fuel tanks and removed spilled fuel oil from one overturned tank. This assessment found that no fuel tanks were leaking;
- Several drone flyovers were conducted by Department of Environmental Conservation over the Saranac River to provide situational awareness to state and local emergency management officials;
- State Department of Transportation dedicated resources and engineering expertise to assist state agencies and local emergency management officials in the emergency response. DOT officials conducted a site visit with Clinton County officials to help assess the situation and coordinated with Plattsburg's Department of Public Works to facilitate recovery operations;
- State Department of Transportation has regularly inspected roads and bridges in the area, including the Route 9 bridge over the Ausable River, to ensure there were no further threats to residents or transportation infrastructure; and,
- Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Roger Parrino met with Clinton County Emergency Services Director Eric Day to tour the area and assess short and long-term impacts from ice jam flooding.