Above: Flooding in Ulster County in September. Photo from the New Paltz Flood Aid website.
Ulster County was hit hard during the flooding caused by the double whammy of Tropical Storms Irene and Lee at the beginning of September. New Paltz Flood Aid, an organization that held a benefit on Oct. 2 and is throwing another on Oct. 16, summed up the devastation in an email on Monday:
Nearly 200 acres were completely lost by our local New Paltz farmers this season, and many more are still in jeopardy due to the ongoing rains. Many families living in close proximity to the Wallkill River lost all their possessions, including some that have lost their homes forever. We need to continue to collect funds for the most in need in our community in the wake of Hurricane Irene.
Yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo and federal officials announced that Ulster County suffered enough damage in Tropical Storm Lee in the first week of September to qualify for federal disaster aid for individuals and for public storm cleanup.
This is good news for people in Ulster County cleaning up after the storm, but it will cause some headaches, according Ulster County Emergency Communications/Emergency Management director Arthur Snyder.
Snyder sent out emails yesterday attempting to head off confusion caused by the new disaster declaration, which, he wrote, will require that many flood victims will have to apply all over again to get the new benefits:
With the Lee declaration comes additional benefits to those who were
affected, but also some additional confusion. I would like to emphasize
1) Even if you applied to FEMA for assistance due to the effects of Irene,
you must apply once again to take advantage of additional benefits you may
entitled to under Lee.
2) You may apply in person at the Disaster Recovery Center located in the
Business Resource Center in Kingston or at one of the mobile sites, on line
at www.disasterassistance.gov, or by phone 1-800-621-3362.
3) It is absolutely essential that applicants complete and return their SBA
applications. If you do not return the application (whether you think you
won't qualify for a loan, or you think you deserve a grant, not a loan) the
process will stop. You must follow through with the SBA application. Denial
of that loan will open doors to additional benefits.
Here are the press releases from the state about the new Ulster County disaster declaration.
Albany, NY (October 4, 2011)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that federal disaster assistance is now available for homeowners, renters, small businesses, and municipalities in additional counties as a result of damages incurred by Tropical Storm Lee.
Today's additions include:
Public Assistance: Ulster County
Individual Assistance: Oneida, Orange, Ulster Counties
The Public Assistance declaration makes federal funding available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by Tropical Storm Lee.
The Individual Assistance declaration allows homeowners, renters and small businesses to apply for the following federal aid: the Individuals and Households Program, Crisis Counseling, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, USDA food coupons and distribution, USDA food commodities, Disaster Legal Services, the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Small Business Administration disaster loans.
The counties currently eligible for assistance from Tropical Storm Lee are as follows:
Individual Assistance (Assistance to individuals and households): Broome, Chenango, Chemung, Delaware, Oneida, Orange, Otsego, Schenectady, Tioga and Ulster counties.
Public Assistance (Assistance for debris removal, emergency protective actions and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities): Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego, Orange, Tioga, Tompkins and Ulster counties.
The counties currently eligible for assistance from Hurricane Irene are as follows:
Individual Assistance (Assistance to individuals and households): Albany, Bronx, Columbia, Clinton, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Herkimer, Kings, Montgomery, Nassau, Orange, Otsego, Putnam, Queens, Rensselaer, Richmond, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, Warren, Washington and Westchester counties.
Public Assistance (Assistance for debris removal, emergency protective actions and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities): Albany, Bronx, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Kings, Montgomery, Nassau, New York, Orange, Otsego, Putnam, Queens, Rensselaer, Richmond, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, Warren, Washington and Westchester counties. Direct federal assistance is authorized.
All counties in the State of New York are eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (Assistance for actions taken to prevent or reduce long term risk to life and property from natural hazards).
Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362. Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
Additional counties may be made eligible for federal assistance as ongoing damage assessments are completed.
From the New York Office of Emergency Management:
Three Additional Counties Now Eligible for Individual Assistance and One County for Public Assistance for Tropical Storm Lee
ALBANY, N.Y. - State and federal officials have announced that three additional counties are now eligible to receive disaster assistance designed to help affected individuals and local governments recover from the effects of the recent flooding caused by Tropical Storm Lee.
Individual Assistance (IA) is now available in Oneida, Orange and Ulster counties. Storm survivors in these counties may apply for temporary housing assistance and housing repair; U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loans for individuals, renters and businesses to repair or replace damaged property; disaster unemployment assistance; grants for serious needs and necessary disaster expenses not met by other programs.
Counties previously declared for IA include Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego, Schenectady and Tioga counties.
Public Assistance (PA) is now available in Ulster County.
FEMA's public assistance program reimburses local government, state agencies, and certain private non-profits for 75 percent of the approved costs. Work may include the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities including:
Public roads and bridges not on the Federal Aid System;
Public water control facilities including dams and drainage channels;
Public utilities such as water treatment and sewage treatment and electrical;
Public buildings such as police and fire stations, libraries and public office buildings, including their vehicles and contents; and
Public parks and recreation facilities including playgrounds, swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, ball fields, and boat ramps.
Counties previously declared for PA include Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Orange, Otsego, Tioga, and Tompkins counties.