Congressman Crowley Calls for Disaster Declaration From State, White House Following Storms

September 17, 2010
Press Release

Washington, D.C.Today, Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) called on Governor Paterson and the White House to declare a federal disaster in the communities affected by the storms that hit New York City on Thursday. Crowley also toured affected neighborhoods and met with residents whose property and homes were damaged by the torrential winds and rains. 

“Our communities have been hit hard by these destructive storms and the damage caused requires immediate and significant attention from City, State and Federal authorities,” said Crowley. “I called Governor Paterson and spoke with the White House about the situation on the ground and, along with my colleagues in the New York Delegation, I have called for a declaration of a Federal disaster. Residents and business owners are in need of help and federal assistance will help put our communities on the road to recovery.”

During a tour to survey the damage, Crowley offered residents his help in dealing with the situation and reminded people to contact either his office in Jackson Heights (718-779-1400) or Washington, D.C. (202-225-3965) should they need assistance in the coming days and weeks. He also reminded families to call 311, New York City’s phone number for government information and non-emergency services, for further assistance.

The text of the letter sent to Governor Paterson and signed by 20 members of the New York Delegation urging a declaration is below:

September 17, 2010

The Honorable David A. Paterson
The Executive Chamber, Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Paterson:

On September 16, 2010, powerful storms devastated sections of New York City causing extensive damage and killing one person.  The severity of these storms was unexpected and the damage caused will require immediate and significant attention from the City, State, and Federal authorities.  It is our hope you will use the powers of your office to ensure the affected areas are declared a Federal disaster area, which will help in the clean-up and recovery effort.

First, we request that you call on the State Emergency Management (SEMO) Office, in conjunction with the NYC Office of Emergency Management, to conduct an immediate assessment of the damages to create a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA).  The PDA will gauge the extent of the damage and help us better prepare a report seeking a Federal disaster declaration.  Based on the findings of the PDA, we hope you will submit to the President of the United States a request for a Federal disaster declaration.  The Federal assistance should provide our constituents with:

1. Individual Assistance (IA), including the Individuals and Households Program (IHP) and Other Needs Assistance (ONA), Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), Legal Services, Crisis Counseling, and the maximum allowable assistance to individuals and businesses from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help alleviate the loss and suffering experienced by residents of these areas;

2. Public Assistance (PA) to help the City and certain non-profit entities provide emergency services; and

3. Specific assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to implement the Hazard Mitigation provisions of law.

We look forward to working with you as we help the people affected by these storms.  Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Congressman Crowley is the six-term representative from the 7th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He sits on the powerful Ways and Means Committee and the Committee on Foreign Affairs.