Assemblyman Bill Reilich (R,C,I-Greece) today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved New York state’s appeal for homeowners, renters and small businesses in Monroe County to be made eligible for federal disaster assistance for damages and other losses caused by late summer storms.
"This is great news for the people of Monroe County who were affected by the storms," Reilich said. "This federal assistance will help many of those who are in need."
Individual disaster assistance may include grants for home repairs, temporary housing or any serious needs or necessary disaster-related expenses. Also available will be long-term, low-interest loans to cover personal, residential and business losses not covered by insurance.
Local governments in 15 counties are also eligible for federal and state reimbursement for the costs of emergency protective measures taken during the storms, as well as for the restoration of public infrastructure such as roads and bridges, and for debris removal.
According to Reilich, FEMA on Oct. 1 issued a major disaster declaration because of the late summer storms and approved 10 counties at that time for federal public assistance. The state, however, appealed that decision, asking that assistance for 15 counties be approved as Gov. George Pataki originally requested.
The storms that began Aug. 13 and continued through Sept. 16 caused extensive flooding that closed state and local roadways, isolating residents and significantly impacting businesses. The heavy rains caused power outages and, coupled with the road closures, forced many people to seek shelter out of their homes. Damage to roads, bridges, dams and other infrastructure seriously impacted the ability of local governments to provide emergency services because of the closures and detours.
According to Reilich, Gov. Pataki directed the implementation of the state Emergency Operations Plan at the outset of the storms in August and ordered state agencies to take necessary actions to protect public health and safety and to restore vital public services and transportation systems. Among those state agencies that responded and continue to work in the recovery effort are the state police, state Departments of Transportation, Health, Environmental Conservation and Correctional Services, the Thruway Authority and the State Emergency Management Office (SEMO).
Reilich urged all residents and small businesses in Monroe County who suffered damage or losses during the storms to begin the disaster relief process by calling FEMA’s telephone registry service toll-free at (800) 621-FEMA (3362). Persons with hearing or speech impairments may call the special TTY number, (800) 462-7585. Lines remain open from 6 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Friday. Those with Internet access can register any time at www.fema.gov.
Assemblyman Reilich may be reached at his district office at 2300 W. Ridge Road, Rochester, NY 14626, or by calling (585) 225-4190.