Irene: State will fix, replace furnaces for flood victims

Residents and business owners trying to remain in their community 80 days after flooding upended the

Residents and business owners trying to remain in their community 80 days after flooding upended their lives may get help sooner than they thought through the work of the state’s flood task force.

Homeowners who couldn’t get help through insurance or the federal government can now tap into a $5 million fund to repair or replace their furnaces, under certain conditions. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced several forms of assistance Wednesday.

“This summer, our state suffered from two natural disasters that devastated communities across New York,” Cuomo said in a news release issued Wednesday. “I recently deployed the Upstate Storm Recovery Task Force to assess the most pressing concerns on the ground and report back so we can coordinate on providing additional recourses where they are most needed.”

Who to call

For phone numbers of local weatherization offices, click here.

Residents affected by tropical storms Irene and Lee can access up to $6,000, so long as they meet income guidelines and don’t have more than $5,000 in liquid assets available.

The money, to be administered by the state offices of Homes and Community Renewal and Temporary and Disability Assistance, will be sent out on a first-come, first-served basis, so those looking for help should call 866-275-3427 as soon as possible.

Flood-damaged businesses have reported applying for different forms of assistance, but insurance companies and agencies such as FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration appear to be waiting to see what other forms of assistance are forthcoming before cutting checks.

To address the long wait for disaster and insurance aid, the state is shifting $3 million from a $15 million Agricultural and Community Recovery fund created more than two months ago and directing it toward a business program to be run through the state Homes and Community Renewal office.

The money will be distributed in the forms of grants, and businesses needing help can call the state Homes and Community Renewal Office at 474-2057 to get the process started.

The $15 million fund has been providing critical help to farmers in the Schoharie Valley, Schoharie County Planning and Development Director Alicia Terry said. But getting some of that money to non-farm businesses is critical.

The Harva Co. in the village of Schoharie is one of many firms struggling to rebuild and hold onto as many employees as it can while waiting for help to come through, she said. “There are a number of businesses [waiting for help],” Terry said.

The $3 million pot of money is now available and, though dubbed a “Main Street” program, businesses don’t have to be on Main Street to qualify, she said.

It can be used for rehabbing buildings, repairs, equipment, inventory and working capital.

Municipalities are in a situation similar to businesses — spending money they didn’t count on spending and waiting for insurance and disaster aid.

The state has about $11 million available in no-interest loans for towns and villages to borrow so they can repair and replace pump stations, electrical equipment, treatment facilities and other components of water treatment systems that were damaged in flooding.

Since it was established, $12.9 million of the $25 million interest-free loan fund has been spoken for, according to the Governor’s Office.

Applications for municipalities are due by the end of this year.

Categories: Schenectady County

Leave a Reply