CORNING, N.Y. (WETM) – Local lawmakers are calling on Governor Hochul to provide money to Steuben County flood victims after FEMA denied federal aid.
New York State Senator Tom O’Mara and Assemblymembers Marjorie Byrnes, Joe Giglio, and Phil Palmesano wrote a letter on January 18 that asked Hochul to provide State aid after FEMA denied the State’s appeal.
Referencing Hochul’s past experience of leadership at the local level, the letter said, in part, “we once again urge you to immediately make direct state aid and other assistance available to individual homeowners, businesses, farms, and the municipalities themselves.”
Specifically, the local leaders are asking for the State to “fully assume the 12.5-percent local share disaster-related costs” and provide direct grants of $10,000 to $20,000 for homeowners and $25,000 to $50,000 for businesses.
On October 13, FEMA first denied individual aid to victims of August’s historic flooding from Tropical Storm Fred. At the time, Hochul said New York State would immediately appeal the decision, saying “The people of Steuben County have suffered enough, and it is our duty to work together to secure the federal funding they deserve.” She urged residents to document the damage in an effort to reverse the FEMA decision.
According to the statement, FEMA denied the State’s appeal this week and said, ““After thorough review of all the information contained in your initial request and appeal, we affirm our original findings that the impact to the individuals and households from this event was not of such severity and magnitude to warrant the designation of the Individual Assistance program under FEMA-4625-DR. Therefore, your appeal for Individual Assistance is denied.”
Saying FEMA’s denial “makes no sense” and calling it “wrong”, the letter continued, “Families in Steuben County have been devastated and it’s unconscionable that our federal government would simply decide to turn its collective back and say ‘tough luck.’ It’s up to the state now to stand up, say ‘help is on the way,’ and provide the assistance that’s needed,.”
The letter follows a similar call to action in September and claims the State has provided direct aid for natural disasters in the past. The full letter can be read below: