FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 31, 2011
SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND URGE PRESIDENT OBAMA, FEMA TO PROVIDE PUBLIC & INDIVIDUAL ASSISTANCE TO PUTNAM COUNTY AFTER IRENE
After Presidential Declaration Leaves Out Assistance To County & Town Governments, Individual Homeowners, Schumer & Gillibrand Press Administration To Reverse Course and Grant Necessary Aid Without Delay
Schumer, Gillibrand: Putnam Absolutely Deserves Federal Help
Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand called on President Barack Obama and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, to immediately approve individual and public assistance for Putnam County residents in the wake of Irene. President Obama granted individual and public assistance to New York counties this morning, but Putnam County has not been awarded either public assistance for local governments or individual homeowners. Public assistance helps local governments fund cleanup and recovery efforts of public buildings and infrastructure, and individual assistance exists to help provide housing and aid in rebuild efforts. Schumer and Gillibrand are calling on the Obama Administration to quickly expand the declaration and provide both public and individual assistance.
“Irene hasn’t just put a dent in Putnam County’s pocketbook, but it will also ultimately end up costing homeowners serious amounts of money as they repair and rebuild their homes as well,” said Schumer. “I strongly urge President Obama and FEMA officials to immediately make individual and public assistance available for Putnam County. This federal assistance will help residents get back on their feet, as well as fund the recovery efforts to rebuild public facilities and critical infrastructure. I’m going to fight as hard as possible for every last dollar.”
“Families and businesses in Putnam County are in dire need of help to dig out from this devastating storm, and begin to recover,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Roads, bridges, homes and businesses are being washed away from massive flooding. President Obama was right to declare a major disaster area for New York State. Now it’s time to put all necessary resources on the ground where we need them. I will fight to secure all the federal funding our families need.”
Every bridge in Philipstown has sustained damage in the flooding, including one bridge which was entirely swept away. First responders in Putnam County initiated life saving emergency rescues during and following the storm, and several major roadways are currently blocked, making travel throughout the county for residents, utility crews and first responders extremely difficult.
Schumer and Gillibrand believe that Putnam County is entitled to both types of emergency aid through FEMA. The county has not yet been issued Individual Assistance for citizens who suffered losses, which includes the Individual and Households program, disaster unemployment insurance, and Small Business Administration loans. Putnam should also be eligible for Public Assistance to reimburse communities for debris removal, emergency response efforts and restoration of public infrastructure. Counties throughout New York have been awarded hazard mitigation grants which support projects that reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards and their effects.
“Putnam County cannot be left behind,” continued Schumer and Gillibrand. “Irene’s damage clearly warrants this assistance, and we’re going to fight tooth and nail to get it.”