No FEMA aid for Riverhead, Suffolk flood victims

04/16/2010 12:00 AM |

Dozens of residents of Horton Avenue in Riverhead, many of whom
were evacuated after a sudden flood inundated their street with
several feet of water late last month, will not be getting FEMA
aid, Governor David Paterson announced in a release Monday. The
street, pictured here on April 5, was under water for nearly
two weeks.

The more than a dozen Horton Avenue residents whose homes were devastated during last month’s storm will not be receiving financial aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Governor David Paterson announced in a press release Friday.
And neither will anyone else in Riverhead Town or Suffolk County, which saw two nor’easters pummel the area in March.
Instead, the governor is requesting a physical disaster declaration from the federal Small Business Administration, an agency that could provide low interest loans to affected homeowners, renters and business owners.
“While we did not meet the criteria for disaster assistance established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the extent of damage we found would qualify for SBA disaster relief programs,” Mr. Paterson said.
The governor is seeking loans of up to $200,000 for homeowners to repair property damage and low interest loans of up to $40,000 to replace personal property.
A report compiled by the state found that 429 homes and 38 businesses throughout Suffolk County lost more than 40 percent of their property value due to last month’s storms.
County officials said last week that in order to receive FEMA aid, which could include grants and rental assistance,  there must have been at least $4 million worth of property damage countywide before Albany could compile a statewide report.
Then that report must find $25 million worth of damage statewide before the governor could make a request to the President for FEMA aid, the county officials said.

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See the April 22 edition of the News-Review for more comprehensive coverage.