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RELIEF IS COMING: Cuomo promises $7M in funds for homeowners along Lake Ontario

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced $7 million in state funding to assist homeowners that have been impacted by flooding along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

The new investment program will provide up to $40,000 for homeowners to support interior and exterior repairs to structural damage caused by flooding, as well as the repair or replacement of permanent fixtures.

The Governor also signed legislation amending the Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 to provide emergency financial assistance for municipalities to be available immediately. The amended legislation removes a 120 day waiting period, allowing municipalities across the state to access emergency loans.

This funding is in addition to the $10 million in state funding announced for eligible municipalities, and the up to $5 million in grants announced for small businesses with physical damage or loss as a result of flooding.

These programs are open to eligible applicants in Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence, and Wayne counties, and provide grants for flood-related costs that have not or will not be compensated by any other federal, state or local recovery program or any third-party payers.

“As water levels remain at an historic high throughout this region, it is vital that we continue to provide relief and resources to residents and business owners who have been impacted by this unprecedented flooding,” Governor Cuomo said. “With this additional funding to provide direct aid to affected homeowners, we are ensuring that residents along the coast are able to make needed repairs to their homes and recover from the flooding.”

The original legislation did not allow for emergency assistance to be available until 120 days after the effective date, or August 18, 2017. However, due to the nature of emergency situations faced by municipalities across Upstate, and in anticipation of such emergency situations in the near future, the amended legislation will remove the 120 day waiting period, making the emergency loans available sooner.

The $7 million in new funding for homeowners will be provided through New York State Homes and Community Renewal and be available to eligible municipalities and not-for-profit housing organizations seeking to assist homeowners. Applications will be made available tomorrow on the HCR website.

Homeowners will ultimately apply for assistance via their municipality or appropriate not-for-profit provider, and homeowners may contact the HCR Office of Community Renewal directly to express interest and ask questions by emailing ocrinfo@nyshcr.org or calling 518-474-2057.​

The Governor also directed the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to implement a five mile per hour speed limit to control wakes within 600 feet of the Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River shoreline as part of the state’s ongoing response to coastal flooding in the region. Beginning today, vessels operating within 600 feet of shore must observe a 5 mile per hour speed limit to reduce impacts to shoreline residences and infrastructure caused by wave action and to promote safe boating.

Under normal conditions, boaters are required to obey the 5 mile per hour speed limit within 100 feet of shore. With the current state of emergency in the region, and as water levels continue to rise throughout the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River system, the Governor is directing State Parks to institute the expanded speed restriction.

Waves created by boat wakes can exacerbate shoreline erosion, further threatening residential and municipal infrastructure. Reducing speeds will result in reduced boat wakes and lessen the wave action along the shore.

Reduced speeds are also necessary to ensure safe boating, as many hidden hazards and debris have been covered by elevated water levels and can threaten boaters. State agencies are working with municipalities to educate boaters and have positioned digital message boards at strategic locations throughout the region.

“DEC remains committed to providing direct assistance to homeowners and local governments throughout the region to address impacts to infrastructure from this record flooding,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Through the Governor’s ongoing leadership, this new funding for homeowners and actions to reduce boating speed limits will help homeowners recover as we reduce risks associated with coastal erosion.”

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Acting Commissioner Roger L. Parrino, Sr. said, “We are continuing our aggressive response efforts in cooperation with local, state and federal partners to mitigate against the continuing flooding issues in the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River regions. By making this funding available, Governor Cuomo is helping homeowners impacted by continuing flooding issues begin the recovery process and assisting with making communities whole once again.”

“Lowering speeds in close proximity to the shoreline is critical in reducing coastal flooding impacts already felt by communities and for boater safety,” said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. “At the Governor’s direction, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is implementing reduced speeds near the coast in an effort to better ensure the safety of boaters from unknown hazards and the safety of neighbors from any additional flood impacts that could occur during this time of emergency.”

More coverage from around the Finger Lakes:

Cuomo on Lake Ontario flooding: ‘There’s no doubt that the IJC blew it’ (CNY Central)
Flood water flows like a creek as Cuomo pledges $7M to help (Democrat & Chronicle)
Cuomo blasts U.S.-Canada commission on Lake Ontario flooding: ‘They blew it’ (Syracuse.com)
Gov. Cuomo announces $7 million for homeowners impacted by flooding (WHAM)
Gov. Cuomo on flooding: IJC has made a series of blunders (WHEC)
Cuomo: $7M available to help lakeshore homeowners (WSYR)

Also on FingerLakes1.com