Meng and Espaillat Seek Additional Federal Relief Funds to Help New York Recover From Ida
Sep 8, 2021
QUEENS, NY – Following President Biden’s approval of emergency and major disaster declarations for New York, U.S. Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY) and Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) announced today that they are leading an effort to secure even more federal relief to help New Yorkers recover from the devastation caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
The two lawmakers have spearheaded a bipartisan letter to the leaders of the House Appropriations Committee asking them to write a bill that would provide the highest amount of federal funds possible for New York. The committee, of which Meng and Espaillat are members, is the panel in Congress that is responsible for allocating emergency disaster funding.
The letter requests money for homeowners, the MTA, emergency planning for future extreme weather, converting basement apartments, flooding remediation for roads and highways, construction funding for existing resiliency projects and general disaster relief.
“As I have said, we need as much federal assistance as possible to help struggling New Yorkers rebound from the damage and devastation that they are experiencing,” said Congresswoman Meng. “New Yorkers need the federal government’s support during this critical time. Additional financial help is vital to our recovery, and we will fight for this needed relief.”
"This is now the second time in two months our communities have been flooded as a result of the climate crisis, and they're in dire need for our support,” said Congressman Espaillat. “Countless families, businesses, and neighborhoods were completely uprooted, and we tragically lost 16 of our fellow New Yorkers - the time to act is now. While we continue to survey the economic toll this storm took on our community, we know that without emergency disaster funding, New York's path to recovery from Ida, and the COVID-19 pandemic, will be impeded - and this is unacceptable. That's why I'm proud to join Congresswoman Meng in leading our colleagues in this fight to bring much needed relief to those most affected by Hurricane Ida.”
Others who signed the letter include New York Reps. Mondaire Jones, Carolyn Maloney, Nydia Velázquez, Thomas Suozzi, Nicole Malliotakis, Jamaal Bowman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Kathleen Rice.
A copy of the letter can be viewed here and the text of the correspondence is below.
Dear Chair DeLauro and Ranking Member Granger,
We write to express our support for emergency disaster supplemental appropriations due to the ramifications of Hurricane Ida and respectfully request that such act include the highest funding possible to help New York families recover from the devastation suffered.
Ida’s consequences are far reaching, especially as we mourn the tragic loss of 16 New Yorkers, including 13 individuals who succumbed to catastrophic flooding caused by the Hurricane - a death toll we fear is steadily rising. Since last Friday, New York State has deployed substantial resources for critical infrastructure repairs such as power restoration, reopening of roads, and public transportation recovery. While the State continues to survey the economic damage of the storm, it is estimated Ida’s total cost could figure as high as $90 billion—if not higher. There is no doubt that New York’s share of this number will be lofty. Without emergency disaster supplemental appropriations New York’s path to recovery from Hurricane Ida, compounded by the global coronavirus pandemic, will be delayed.
To help New York recover and rebuild, we believe several accounts should be included in an emergency supplemental spending bill. We respectfully urge that you include the highest funding possible for the following accounts:
HUD Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program. Maximum funds would support large-scale resiliency projects and grants to homeowners. After Hurricane Sandy, New York City and Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island received $16 billion. These funds were used to support individuals and families that helped them rebuild and recover from the storm. This fund will be essential for New York’s recovery.
HUD Single Family and Multifamily grants and loans: As you know, 13 New Yorkers tragically lost their lives in basement units. Funding here would help finance basement conversions.
FEMA Disaster Relief Fund. Funding would support general reimbursement, Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities grants, and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
FEMA Emergency Management Performance Grant. Funding would help with emergency planning for future extreme weather events.
DOT Transit. The Metropolitan Transit Authority will need additional resources to recover and rebuild.
DOT Federal Highway Administration. Funds would support street design and flooding remediation.
USACE Construction Funding. Funds would support existing resiliency projects and additional ones that may be needed.
While this list is not exhaustive, we strongly encourage that you include them in emergency disaster supplemental appropriations and bring relief to those affected by Ida, including New York families. Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to working together to address this crisis.