In June 2013– following the occurrence of Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and most recently Superstorm Sandy– Governor Andrew Cuomo set out to centralize recovery and rebuilding efforts in impacted areas of New York State. The impacted counties from each of these storms include:
Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Nassau, Orange, Ostego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, Warren and Washington counties
Tropical Storm Lee
Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Fulton, Herkimer, Oneida, Orange, Ostego, Schenectady, Schoharie, Tioga, Tompkins and Ulster counties
Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties
Establishing the Office of Storm Recovery, the Governor aimed to address communities’ most urgent needs, while also encouraging the identification of innovative and enduring solutions to strengthen the State’s infrastructure and critical systems. Operating under the umbrella of New York Rising, the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) utilizes approximately $4.4 billion in flexible funding made available by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program to concentrate aid to four main areas. Paired with additional federal funding that has been awarded to other State agencies, the CDBG-DR program is enabling homeowners, small businesses and entire communities to build back even better than before. And in a State already known for its great resiliency and can-do spirit, the efforts are paving the way for a tremendous comeback– one that will reinvigorate New York and better prepare it for future extreme weather events that come its way.
Spearheading the State’s efforts to assist storm-affected homeowners, GOSR operates a Housing Recovery Program to facilitate home repairs, rehabilitation, mitigation and elevation for the owners of single family homes. Additional programs are available for the owners of multi-family rental properties, and for individual owners of co-ops and condos, as well as owners’ associations. The rental properties program will not only benefit property owners, but will also generate essential and affordable housing resources to New Yorkers in need.
Furthermore, in February 2014, the State began disseminating payments through the Interim Mortgage Assistance (IMA) program, thereby seeking to supplement funding for families who have accrued further housing costs. The Housing Recovery Program also manages the State’s buyout and acquisition initiative, which has offered hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase the homes of interested homeowners.
Rendering grants of $50,000 or more, as well as low-interest loans, the Small Business Program provides support to independently-owned and operated small businesses that suffered loss as a result of Irene, Lee or Sandy. The program helps small businesses to repair or replace needed equipment or lost inventory, to renovate facilities that were damaged/destroyed, or to provide working capital needed as a direct result of the storm. Also, through its Business Mentor NY initiative, the State offers free mentoring services that are designed to bolster the recovery efforts of small businesses that are navigating the rebuilding process.
Characterized by an emboldened community-driven approach, the Community Reconstruction Program assists storm-impacted towns by facilitating an extensive redevelopment planning process that considers and incorporates unique local needs. With 45 local planning committees at the heart of this undertaking, the program promotes civic engagement, empowers municipalities and invites each group to share its ideas for long-term redevelopment and growth. Communities are eligible to receive awards ranging from $3 million to $25 million, as they implement strategies that will support local recovery and resiliency efforts.
Striving to stabilize and protect New York from future incidents of extreme weather, the Infrastructure Program leverages local resources and invests in a range of projects to transform the State’s infrastructure, transportation networks, energy supply, coastal protection, weather warning system and emergency management programs. Through these critically-important investments– which aim to keep New Yorkers safe– the State will establish a sustainable network of systems that will support its continuing growth.