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Goshen, N.Y. –Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus on Thursday voiced his strong support for a resolution passed by the Legislature condemning the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for denying Individual Assistance (IA) for residents impacted by July’s historic storm.
FEMA recently issued a decision declining to offer IA to help Orange County homeowners repair damage from July's storm. IA can be provided to eligible individuals and households, including homeowners and renters, who have sustained losses as a direct result of a disaster that receives a federal disaster declaration.
“We need Washington, D.C. to do its job and provide this much-needed aid to our residents, including many who are still recovering from the storm,” Neuhaus said. “It is disappointing that FEMA has failed us, denying Orange County flood victims IA, but they can still rectify this situation by stepping up to the plate and assisting these residents who have endured tremendous hardships. We will continue to advocate for all County residents impacted by July’s storm and have been denied state and federal assistance.”
“We are disappointed in FEMA, an organization that you would expect to be there for Orange County residents in a time of great need,” added Legislator Kevin Hines, Chairman of the Public Safety and Emergency Services Committee. “Instead, FEMA has just walked away from us and ignored our pleas for assistance. We need our federal partners to do the right thing and prioritize helping Orange County residents who suffered significant hardships because of the storm.”
Historic flooding devastated several areas, especially Fort Montgomery, West Point, Highland Falls, and Cornwall during July’s storm. The Black Dirt farming region also sustained significant damage to properties. Approximately 1,300 County residents to date have submitted individual damage assessment forms, only a portion of which have been deemed income-eligible under the New York State Governor’s Flood Assistance Program, or otherwise able to receive very limited private or Federal funding assistance.
There are a significant number of private individuals who are without recourse to any type of insurance, private funding, or Federal or State aid for the flooding and other damage caused by the storm. New York State can appeal FEMA’s decision, allowing further evaluation by the federal government, which could overturn the decision.
“It is a sad commentary that we have to even pass this resolution,” said Katie Bonelli, Chairwoman of the Orange County Legislature. “We stand strong and will continue to advocate for the Orange County residents impacted by July’s storm. Our residents face daunting financial burdens as they recover and rebuild. They are in urgent need of federal assistance to address the damage.”