Queens lawmaker seeks additional federal relief funds to help New Yorkers recover from Hurricane Ida

Congresswoman Grace Meng surveys trash piles in Fresh Meadows following Hurricane Ida. (Photo courtesy of Meng’s office)

Following President Biden’s approval of emergency and major disaster declarations for New York, Congress members Grace Meng and Adriano Espaillat are requesting even more federal relief to help New Yorkers recover the devastation caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida. 

The lawmakers sent a bipartisan letter on Wednesday, Sept. 8, to the leaders of the House Appropriations Committee asking them to write a bill that would provide the highest amount of federal funds possible for New York. 

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

The letter requests money for homeowners, the MTA, emergency planning for future extreme weather, converting basement apartments, flooding remediation for roads and highways, construction funding for existing resiliency projects and general disaster relief.

According to the lawmakers, it is estimated Hurricane Ida’s total cost could figure as high as $90 billion — if not higher. 

“As I have said, we need as much federal assistance as possible to help struggling New Yorkers rebound from the damage and devastation that they are experiencing,” Meng said. “New Yorkers need the federal government’s support during this critical time. Additional financial help is vital to our recovery, and we will fight for this needed relief.”

Espaillat says he’s proud to join Meng in leading their colleagues in the fight to bring much needed relief to those most affected by Hurricane Ida. 

“This is now the second time in two months our communities have been flooded as a result of the climate crisis, and they’re in dire need for our support,” Espaillat said. “Countless families, businesses, and neighborhoods were completely uprooted, and we tragically lost 16 of our fellow New Yorkers — the time to act is now.” 

While they continue to survey the economic toll the storm took on communities, Espaillat says they know that without emergency disaster funding, New York’s path to recovery from Ida, and the COVID-19 pandemic will be impeded, which is “unacceptable.”

To help New York recover and rebuild, Meng and Espaillat say several accounts should be included in an emergency supplemental spending bill.

They are urging the committee to include the highest funding possible for HUD Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program, HUD Single Family and Multifamily grants and loans, FEMA Disaster Relief Fund, FEMA Emergency Management Performance Grant, DOT Transit, DOT Federal Highway Administration and USACE Construction Funding.

While the list is not exhaustive, according to the lawmakers, they’re encouraging the committee to include them in emergency disaster supplemental appropriations and bring relief to those affected by Hurricane Ida, including New York families.

Other lawmakers who have signed the letter include New York Reps. Mondaire Jones, Carolyn Maloney, Nydia Velázquez, Thomas Suozzi, Nicole Malliotakis, Jamaal Bowman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Kathleen Rice.