Lawmakers Call for Hurricane Ida Relief Fund to be Included in the State Budget

Queens, NY Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D,WF-Fresh Meadows), Assemblywoman Gina L. Sillitti (D-Great Neck) and Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas (D-Jackson Heights) are announcing that the New York State Assembly will include $50 million in funding in its Budget Resolution for homeowners impacted by catastrophic Hurricane Ida in September 2021. The lawmakers are calling for this funding to be allocated in the New York State Budget set to pass in April.

“The aftermath of Hurricane Ida caused severe damage to our city including parts of my district. Many of our most vulnerable communities were disproportionately impacted and continue to suffer as a result. I’m urging the Governor and my colleagues in the Assembly and Senate to include Ida relief funding in this year’s budget to fill the resource gap left by other recovery efforts. New Yorkers want to rebuild what they’ve lost due to the storm and have exhausted whatever help was available to them. This aid will allow families to do just that,” said Assemblymember González-Rojas.

“The damage caused by Hurricane Ida to Queens homeowners has been devastating,” said Assemblywoman Rozic. “Families lost thousands of dollars’ worth in appliances, furniture, and damage to their property. We must provide critical relief for homeowners and immediate support for our small businesses as they rebuild and recover from this season’s devastating flooding.”

“Many New Yorkers are still feeling the effects of Hurricane Ida all these months later, and a huge reason why is that they have not fully received the help they need to recover,” said Assemblywoman Sillitti. “The state needs to include funding for these residents’ recovery in the upcoming budget. Our neighbors need their government’s assistance and I am determined to make sure that they receive the resources they need to bounce back from this substantial hardship. I will do everything I can to advocate for them in Albany.”

State Senator John C. Liu said, “Unfortunately, too many Hurricane Ida victims are still trying to get back on their feet after suffering from significant property damage, often jumping through hoops with FEMA and insurance companies only to get nothing, nada, zip. A state fund could finally provide some measure of relief while we look to address systemic climate change and shortfalls in our infrastructure. The tragic deaths and destruction that occurred here in Flushing and around our city demand nothing less than our full attention, and we now look to the state to step up and provide this desperately needed relief that will help victims on their pathway toward recovery.”

“The devastation left by Hurricane Ida is immeasurable. The loss of lives and damage to homes has left community members without answers, especially in immigrant communities who are most likely to be living in basements. We want to acknowledge that the majority of community members who lost their lives are from the AAPI community. We stand with AM Rozic to advocate for funding for our neighbors hardest hit by Hurricane Ida,” said Wayne Ho, President and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council.

The new funding in the Assembly One-House Budget Resolution follows a letter from lawmakers requesting the inclusion of a fund to provide financial relief in the State Budget for those impacted by Hurricane Ida. The Assembly is expected to vote on the resolution early next week, but the measure will have to be passed in the state’s final budget in April. The full letter is below.

Shortly after Hurricane Ida, Governor Kathy Hochul and the Mayor’s announced funding for undocumented community members who were impacted by Hurricane Ida but not eligible for FEMA assistance. These grants, distributed by eight community-based organizations including Chinese-American Planning Council and the Minkwon Center, are still available. Families are encouraged to apply by April 29th.

In 2017, a similar fund for disaster relief was created for Lake Ontario homeowners impacted by flooding. 

Honorable Carl E. Heastie
Speaker, New York State Assembly
Room 932 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248

Dear Speaker Heastie,

Hurricane Ida caused unprecedented flooding and devastation throughout Long Island and Queens County and was responsible for 82 deaths across 8 states, including 16 in New York. Nearly six months have passed, but Long Islanders and Queens County residents and property owners are still reeling from the significant property damage. We need to do more to help. We request the final budget for 2022-2023 include a relief fund for victims on Long Island and Queens County ravaged by Hurricane Ida.

Thank you for your visit to District 16 this past October to see the damage firsthand. During your visit, you toured the home of Hassan Iman in Port Washington whose home and backyard were covered by mudslides. Mr. Iman’s estimated damages just for the outside were approximately $68,000 but FEMA granted him only $14,000, leaving Mr. Iman to cover almost 80% of the damage himself. Unfortunately, Mr. Iman’s situation is far from unique; there are so many more. This payment gap is crippling homeowners, businesses, and organizations as New Yorkers are already staggering financially from the pandemic. We need to do more to help. In Queens, in the 34th Assembly District, several homeowners noted issues with the general rollout of funding for people impacted by the storm’s aftermath. They shared that inspectors failed to enter their homes to see damages. The inspections were experienced as just simple eyeballing and based on the discretion of the inspector while constituents advised that further damages were inside and should be assessed. One constituent did open her doors and showed how a whole floor was damaged and later shared that she received very little funding to replace her items and pay for repairs.

State and federal experts, according to Governor Hochul’s office, estimated more than $140 million in damage to public infrastructure and property. More than 2,900 homes suffered damage. Long Island and Queens County residents are desperate for assistance. After Governor Hochul witnessed the damage left by Hurricane Ida she said, “I have seen the heartbreak and pain of these families firsthand, and I pledge not to forget them and to ensure they get the resources they need to recover. Our recovery and support services teams remain on the ground, doubling down on our restoration efforts until New Yorkers are able to stand on their feet again.”

Our request is not without precedent. In 2019 there was a fund set up for the historic flooding by Lake Ontario which led to the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Flood Relief and Recovery Grant Program for victims in the Finger Lakes region. New York must show its continued commitment and support to Hurricane Ida victims. We respectfully request the Assembly to include funding in the final budget for Hurricane Ida victims on Long Island and in Queens County.

Thank you for your consideration.