Hurricane Ida help now available to Orange County residents, who can apply for FEMA aid

·3 min read

Orange County residents can now apply for federal money to help recover from Hurricane Ida, which tore through the Hudson Valley in September.

Officials on Wednesday announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency added Orange to the list of New York counties where individuals are eligible to apply for financial assistance related to Ida damage.

Dutchess, Rockland and Westchester are also among the counties where people can submit applications, which are due by Dec. 6. New York officials have pushed FEMA to extend that deadline, but they are urging residents to apply for aid as soon as possible, said Mia Ehrenberg, a spokesperson for Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, whose 18th Congressional District includes Orange County.

“I’ve seen first-hand the extensive damage Hurricane Ida did to folks across Orange County and this Individual Assistance will go a long way towards helping our communities get back on their feet," Maloney said in a statement.

Michael Weir cleans up his yard on Cardinal Drive after the storm caused a tree to fall on his cars in Washingtonville on September 2.
Michael Weir cleans up his yard on Cardinal Drive after the storm caused a tree to fall on his cars in Washingtonville on September 2.

Ida blew through the Hudson Valley on Sept. 1, toppling trees and flooding homes and breaking up roads.

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FEMA had previously decided not to make Orange eligible for the individual assistance program.

Maloney and Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus previously called on FEMA to reconsider, and on Wednesday Maloney sent a letter to FEMA to again make the case for Orange's eligibility.

"I believe that the population demographics of Orange County could result in a longer, more painful recovery if FEMA's Individual Assistance is not made available," he wrote.

Kevin Sur, a FEMA spokesperson, said Thursday that "Orange County was added after further review of the affected areas following additional information provided by New York State and Orange County."

The push to add Orange was a collaborative effort that involved work from numerous officials. Maloney, Neuhaus, Gov. Kathy Hochul, state Sen. James Skoufis, and Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand all praised the decision to make Orange eligible for aid.

"Orange County was hit hard by Ida, and this critical federal assistance will go a long way in aiding the state's recovery process," Hochul said in a statement. "I thank our local and federal partners for continuing to work with New York and our damage assessment teams to help deliver these resources to New Yorkers in need."

People who live in one of those eligible counties can apply for money to help cover necessary expenses and serious needs that are uninsured or underinsured, according to FEMA.

Hochul said the state will work with FEMA and Orange County to create a disaster recovery center, "which will provide valuable information to assist New Yorkers in recovery efforts and support in the process of applying for available assistance and relief. An opening date will be announced in the near future."

Flood damage in Washingtonville on Sept. 2.
Flood damage in Washingtonville on Sept. 2.

Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan and Westchester counties are eligible for federal public assistance in the wake of Hurricane Ida. That allows governments, municipalities and certain private nonprofits to seek federal money for debris removal, life-saving emergency protective measures and restoration of public infrastructure, according to FEMA.

New Yorkers can apply for FEMA assistance at fema.gov/disaster/4615.

People can also apply for help by visiting disasterassistance.gov, using the FEMA mobile app, or calling the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362. Helpline operators are available from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

Maloney said people who have trouble seeking help are encouraged to call his office at 845-561-1259.

The state also set up a hub at ny.gov/ida for New Yorkers who were impacted by Hurricane Ida. Information is available there on assistance programs and where to find services.

Matt Spillane covers breaking news throughout the Hudson Valley. Click here for his latest stories. Follow him on Twitter @MattSpillane. Check out our latest subscription offers here.

This article originally appeared on Times Herald-Record: Orange County residents can now apply for FEMA help for Hurricane Ida

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