New York announces $27M in Hurricane Ida aid for undocumented residents

September 27, 2021

Gov. Kathy Hochul, joined by Sen. Jessica Ramos and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, toured homes in the East Elmhurst section of Queens that flooded from torrential rains brought on by Hurricane Ida. ( Photo: Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of the Governor on Flickr)

Nearly a month after the remnants of Hurricane Ida brought record rainfall, more than $50 million in property damage, and claimed the lives of 13 city residents, New York officials announced a plan to provide financial assistance to undocumented residents affected by the storm. Announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday, the fund includes $27 million in city and state grants for New Yorkers who are ineligible for federal help because of their immigration status.

Earlier this month, Hurricane Ida delivered a historic amount of rain to the city, with more than 3 inches of rain recorded in a single hour, requiring a flash flood emergency to be issued across the five boroughs for the first time ever. A majority of those killed from the flooding lived in basement apartments, where a deluge of water rushed into the units and blocked the only way out.

In response to the devastation from Ida, President Joe Biden approved a major disaster declaration for the state, opening up federal funds for residents and businesses affected by the flooding. While this allowed for those affected by the storm to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency, which would include assistance up to $36,000 for repairs and replacement of property among other forms of relief,  undocumented New Yorkers are not eligible to apply.

The assistance program announced by Hochul and de Blasio will be managed by the state’s Office of New Americans, with funds distributed via grants from community organizations. The program includes areas designated in Biden’s declaration, including Bronx, Kings, Nassau, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, Westchester, and Rockland counties.

“When I saw the devastation of Hurricane Ida, I pledged that we would do everything in our power to help impacted communities recover, and this funding is a fulfillment of that promise,” Hochul said.”With these resources dedicated to undocumented New Yorkers who are ineligible for FEMA relief and partnerships with organizations on the ground, we can close gaps in aid and help New Yorkers in need.”

The not-for-profit organizations distributing the financial aid include the Catholic Charities Community Services in the Bronx, the Chinese American Planning Council in Brooklyn, MinKwon in Queens, Make the Road in Queens, Make the Road in Staten Island, the Economic Opportunity Commission of Nassau County in Hempstead, Make the Road in Brentwood, and NeighborsLink in Mount Kisco.

Applications for assistance will be accepted starting Monday, September 27 through Friday, November 26. New Yorkers who need help should call the ONA Hotline at 1-800-566-7636, available in over 200 languages, or visit the partner non-profit groups.

“Many in our community lost everything after the devastating floods caused by Ida. In our office alone we have had to tell more than 25 families that there are no existing resources to help them in their time of need,” Assembly Member Catalina Cruz, who represents parts of Queens, said in a statement.

“The federal government needs to provide the same resources available to citizens to all who were impacted, including our neighbors who did not qualify due to immigration status. I am so thankful to Governor Hochul for the Ida Relief Fund for Excluded New Yorkers, a much-needed humanitarian effort that will support my most vulnerable neighbors, who otherwise would be left with absolutely nothing.”

Other means of assistance are available to victims of Hurricane Ida regardless of immigration status. This includes shelter, food, basic needs, and home repair work. Find additional resources from the city here and from the state, here.


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