Queens lawmakers call for ‘desperately needed’ Hurricane Ida relief fund to be included in state budget

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (QNS file photo)

The New York State Assembly will include $50 million in funding in its budget resolution for homeowners impacted by the remnants of Hurricane Ida in September 2021, Queens Assemblywoman Nily Rozic announced. 

Rozic, along with Assembly members Gina Sillitti and  Jessica González-Rojas, are calling for the funding to be allocated in the New York state budget set to pass in April. 

“The damage caused by Hurricane Ida to Queens homeowners has been devastating,” Rozic said. “Families lost thousands of dollars’ worth in appliances, furniture and damage to their property. We must provide critical relief for homeowners and immediate support for our small businesses as they rebuild and recover from this season’s devastating flooding.”

The new funding in the Assembly One-House Budget Resolution follows a letter from lawmakers requesting the inclusion of a fund to provide financial relief in the state budget for those impacted by Hurricane Ida. The Assembly is expected to vote on the resolution this week, but the measure will have to be passed in the state’s final budget in April. 

Shortly after Hurricane Ida, Hochul and the mayor announced funding for undocumented community members who were impacted by the storm but not eligible for FEMA assistance, the lawmakers said. 

These grants, distributed by eight community-based organizations including the Chinese-American Planning Council and the MinKwon Center, are still available. Families are encouraged to apply by April 29. 

 “The devastation left by Hurricane Ida is immeasurable. The loss of lives and damage to homes has left community members without answers, especially in immigrant communities who are most likely to be living in basements,” said Wayne Ho, president and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council. “We want to acknowledge that the majority of community members who lost their lives are from the AAPI community. We stand with AM Rozic to advocate for funding for our neighbors hardest hit by Hurricane Ida.” 

González-Rojas urged Governor Kathy Hochul and her colleagues in the Assembly and Senate to include Ida relief funding in this year’s budget to fill the resource gap left by other recovery efforts. 

“The aftermath of Hurricane Ida caused severe damage to our city including parts of my district. Many of our most vulnerable communities were disproportionately impacted and continue to suffer as a result,” González-Rojas said. “New Yorkers want to rebuild what they’ve lost due to the storm and have exhausted whatever help was available to them. This aid will allow families to do just that.” 

 According to Sillitti, the state needs to include funding for these residents’ recovery in the upcoming budget. 

 “Our neighbors need their government’s assistance and I am determined to make sure that they receive the resources they need to bounce back from this substantial hardship. I will do everything I can to advocate for them in Albany,” Sillitti said. 

Senator John Liu said too many Hurricane Ida victims are still trying to get back on their feet after suffering from significant property damage, often jumping through hoops with FEMA and insurance companies only to get nothing. 

“A state fund could finally provide some measure of relief while we look to address systemic climate change and shortfalls in our infrastructure. The tragic deaths and destruction that occurred here in Flushing and around our city demand nothing less than our full attention, and we now look to the state to step up and provide this desperately needed relief that will help victims on their pathway toward recovery,” Liu said.