One year after Superstorm Sandy devastated communities across the Lower Hudson Valley, Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland), Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Westchester/Putnam/Orange), White Plains Mayor Tom Roach, and other local community leaders said today at a press conference that federal aid has been essential in helping communities recover and rebuild, and vowed to continue pushing for additional federal funding for infrastructure improvements that would help protect the region during future natural disasters. Congresswoman Lowey and Congressman Maloney also announced that Westchester and Rockland Counties have received $48,964,221 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance grants since Sandy struck, with Westchester County receiving nearly $38 million, and Rockland County nearly $11 million. Local governments continue to apply for funding, and additional grants are expected in the coming months.
The funds were made available by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, a bipartisan bill passed by Congress in January that provided $60 billion for response and recovery to aid communities in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and others that suffered due to Sandy. As the senior Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Lowey helped lead the bipartisan effort to pass the full assistance package.
Today’s announcement was at the City of White Plains Recycling Facility, known as the Gedney Yard, where debris was stored, processed and disposed in Sandy’s aftermath. The City of White Plains was reimbursed $1.7 million by FEMA, which covered 90% of the collection, disposal, and labor costs.
Lowey had also fought to add Westchester and Rockland Counties to the “Major Disaster Declaration” within days of Sandy’s landfall.
“One year ago, Sandy made landfall and devastated our region, taking lives and damaging homes and businesses,” said Congresswoman Lowey, who fought to make Westchester and Rockland Counties part of the federal Major Disaster Declaration. “Federal assistance has been absolutely essential in helping communities across the Lower Hudson Valley get back on their feet. Federal aid has also helped protect local taxpayers who would otherwise be on the hook for recovery costs. While I am proud to have helped secure financial aid for individuals, small businesses and local governments that suffered as a result of Sandy, I will not stop working until our community as a whole has recovered and is stronger than before.”
“New Yorkers always greet adversity with strength, courage, and resiliency. I’ve been working with over 40 communities and local stakeholders across the Hudson Valley to rebuild stronger communities and invest in our neighbors and our economy,” said Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney. “Working closely with Governor Cuomo and leaders like George Green, we will continue to make critical progress towards filling the unmet needs of our Hudson Valley communities and businesses still recovering from Lee, Irene and Sandy.”
"One year after Sandy, the spigot is finally on and the aid is flowing to New York communities,” said Senator Chuck Schumer. “Westchester and Rockland Counties have been reimbursed by FEMA for a great deal of their cleanup work, but there is much more to come now that all the recovery programs are up and running. New Yorkers will see an estimated $6.3 billion in aid next year, which is enough to rebuild almost every house and create a community that is much stronger than before. We’ll continue to recover, and will be back stronger than before in the Hudson Valley.”
“New Yorkers suffered greatly from this storm. That is why I joined with the rest of our elected representatives to have the federal government do all it could to help the people whose homes were destroyed and lives disrupted,” said Congressman Eliot Engel. Thankfully, we were heard and federal money has come for the residents of Sound Shore and the other towns and villages who suffered from this Superstorm. This helped to pay for debris removal and related expenses lifting a great burden from these localities.”
"The federal reimbursement that the City of White Plains has received for Hurricane Sandy-related expenses has absolutely been critical for us. Clean-up and repair efforts took months and required a tremendous amount of city manpower,” said White Plains Mayor Tom Roach. “Without the federal assistance secured by Congresswoman Lowey and our federal delegation, the impact of these expenses on the city's budget would have been significant. Their assistance has ensured that the work which needed to get done to get to the city back on track was done without breaking our budget and hurting our taxpayers."
Congresswoman Lowey presented a proclamation to United Way of Westchester and Rockland in recognition of the assistance it provided the community in Sandy’s aftermath. Its 2-1-1 helpline was activated on October 27, 2012, to support the federal, state and local governments in disaster response and recovery. The helpline handled nearly 178,000 requests from the community regarding food, power restoration, shelter, damage reimbursement, and clean up assistance.
“When you look at how much was accomplished in a year that included such a life-changing disaster, you realize how impactful our mission work is to the entire community”, said Naomi Adler, CEO and President of United Way of Westchester and Putnam. “Hundreds of volunteers, partner nonprofits, government workers, and businesses stepped forward to help with us this year and we owe them a big ‘thank you’.”
Lowey also highlighted her push to secure additional aid for affected communities and infrastructure improvements to help mitigate the impact of future disasters, including advocating that communities in Westchester and Rockland Counties receive their fair share of disaster recovery assistance funds through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“We must continue to invest in our infrastructure so that our region is better prepared for future disasters,”added Congresswoman Lowey.