Allegany, Cayuga, Cortland, Lewis, Oneida, Steuben, Tioga and Yates Counties Qualify for Public Assistance to Aid in Rebuilding Publicly Owned Facilities and Infrastructure
Governor Calls on FEMA to Approve Individual Assistance Request for Steuben County
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced President Biden approved her request for a Major Disaster Declaration for eight counties to help provide federal financial relief for local governments recovering from the flooding damage caused by Tropical Storm Fred in mid-August. The declaration will provide public assistance to municipalities in the counties of Allegany, Cayuga, Cortland, Lewis, Oneida, Steuben, Tioga and Yates, where more than $36.2 million in total damages were reported for publicly owned infrastructure and facilities.
Governor Hochul continues to work with FEMA and federal, state, and local partners to ensure New Yorkers get the relief that they need from several storms that impacted the State this summer.
"Thanks to the dedication of our State personnel who worked with local officials and FEMA to conduct damage assessments across affected areas, many upstate communities will now be eligible for much-needed federal assistance," Governor Hochul said. "I appreciate the support from President Biden and the federal government for stepping up to help New Yorkers rebuild. I look forward to continuing to work with the administration to get Steuben County the resources it needs to recover including Individual Assistance for homeowners."
A Major Disaster Declaration with a Public Assistance designation allows for financial assistance from the federal government to local communities so they can properly recover from flood-related damages. Through FEMA's Public Assistance program, reimbursement can be received for activities such as debris removal, emergency protective measures and the repairing and rebuilding of publicly-owned infrastructure, including roads, public schools, bridges, parks, hospitals, police stations, fire houses, water and waste water treatment facilities and other public facilities.
With the issuance of the federal disaster declaration, the State's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services will work with local partners to identify recovery projects to apply for reimbursement through the Public Assistance program. FEMA will then review the projects for eligibility and conduct site visits with the Division and local officials to scope and combine projects, as appropriate. Once a project is identified and the initial site visit has been conducted, FEMA, Division staff and the locality will develop the Project Worksheet, which includes a damage description, scope of work and cost estimate. Following a final FEMA eligibility review, funding will be obligated to the project.
The federal government has not yet made a determination on New York's request for funding to support Steuben County homeowners under the Individual Assistance program. Governor Hochul will renew this request until the needed resources are secured for Steuben County.
On Wednesday, Aug. 18, widespread flash flooding occurred in the evening and overnight hours, particularly in parts of Steuben County, resulting in several water rescues and evacuations. Swift Water Rescue crews from Department of Environmental Conservation, State Police and Office of Fire Prevention and Control personnel responded to multiple flooded homes in six different municipalities. Evacuees were sheltered at various locations as the floodwaters threatened homes and property, and ten state highways were closed and potentially damaged due to flooding.
After the storm, the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services deployed specialists to assess damage to apply for federal disaster aid. The State remained in constant contact with FEMA and local partners throughout this process to push for an expedited review on the federal side once preliminary damage assessments were finalized.
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