ALBANY - The state of New York is making $20 million available to homeowners along the Lake Ontario shoreline who have suffered flooding this year.
Commissioner Basil Seggos of the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Commissioner Howard Zemsky of Empire State Development have written a letter to officials of communities along the lake shore who have taken part in the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative, or REDI, commission. The initiative asked communities to come up with plans on how to fix flooding issues from 2019 and also projects that could keep flooding from happening in the future.
But numerous homeowners said they still are in need of individual assistance to make repairs from this year’s flooding. So the state has decided to earmark $20 million of the REDI Commission’s $300 million to expand the state Department of Housing and Community Renewal Residential Home Repair Program.
“We are estimating awards of approximately up to $15 million total for qualifying projects per county and additional funding of up to $160 million in total for regionally significant large-scale economic development and resiliency projects,” Seggos and Zemsky wrote in a letter to community officials.
“REDI was created to address the immediate and long-term resiliency needs of these areas while also enhancing economic development opportunities and health of the lake,” they wrote. “The REDI aims to develop a new vision for rebuilding and enhancing the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shoreline from resiliency and economic development points of view, including protecting critical infrastructure and enhancing natural features that support coastal resilience.”
But they added individual homeowners also need help to recover from this year’s disaster.
Assemblyman Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, was happy to hear the homeowners will get some relief.
“Private property owners affected by this catastrophic flooding need help rebuilding from this man-made disaster,” Barclay said. “I am pleased funding has been made available to homeowners along Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River and I applaud the governor for understanding the difficulties property owners are facing. This funding will help to fortify their homes and help some to protect from future flooding.”
State Sen. Patricia Ritchie, R-Oswegatchie, also was pleased to hear about the money.
“Since the formation of the REDI Commission, and at numerous REDI meetings, I have strongly advocated for a portion of the announced funding to directly help homeowners, and I am pleased to learn my voice — and the voices of countless others who are being impacted by flooding — were heard,” she said.
“In recent months, I have visited homes on the shorelines of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. I have seen the devastation firsthand and talked with countless people who have watched everything they have worked so hard for be destroyed by floodwaters,” Ritchie said. “It is my hope that this funding will provide them with the relief they so sorely need and I look forward to learning the full details of the relief program.