Queens lawmaker secures billions in disaster relief for New York City

Congresswoman Grace Meng presents SBA Restaurant Revitalization Fund
Congresswoman Grace Meng announces the official opening of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. (File photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

Congress members Grace Meng and Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan) announced on Wednesday, Sept. 22, that they secured over $11 billion in federal relief to help New Yorkers recover from the devastation caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida. 

According to Meng, the havoc that Ida wreaked on her congressional district in Queens, and the New York region, has continued to devastate many of her constituents, as they remain in need of help. 

“As I have said, New York needs as much federal aid as possible to assist with recovering from this catastrophic storm, and in addition to the emergency and major disaster declarations, these funds will go a long way towards providing needed relief, and building back better. I thank Rep. Espaillat for partnering with me to obtain this vital funding,” Meng said. 

Espaillat said Ida marked the second time in two months that communities were flooded as a result of the climate crisis, and it demonstrated New Yorkers’ need for support. 

“While we continue to survey the economic toll this storm took on our communities, it’s clear that our people needed immediate and tangible relief — and I’m proud to have secured this much needed funding so that our communities can begin to rebuild from this crisis, and build back better, and stronger than ever before,” Espaillat said. 

Earlier this month, Meng and Espaillat spearheaded a bipartisan letter to the leaders of the House Appropriations Committee asking them to include the highest amount of federal funds possible for New York in the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, which continues vital federal funding through Dec. 3. 

The committee, of which Meng and Espaillat are members, is the panel in congress that is responsible for allocating emergency disaster funding.

Meng and Espaillat were able to secure additional funding for several accounts, the majority of which will provide disaster relief.

They include $5 billion for HUD Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program, of which the maximum funds would support large-scale resiliency projects and grants to homeowners; continued access to the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund, the funding would support general reimbursement, Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities grants, and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program; $50 million for FEMA Emergency Management Performance Grants, the funding would help with emergency planning for future extreme weather events; $2.6 billion for the DOT Federal Highway Administration, of which the funds would support street design and flooding remediation; and $3 billion for USACE Construction Funding, of which the funds would support existing resiliency projects and additional ones that may be needed.