President Obama Declares New York a Disaster

 President Obama Declares New York a DisasterPresident Barack Obama declared the State of New York a major disaster and ordered federal aid to the areas affected by Hurricane Irene.

Declaring New York an official disaster makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the Albany, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Schenectady, Schoharie, and Ulster counties.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster, according to a release from the White House.

“I thank President Obama for his quick action granting New York a federal disaster declaration,” said Andrew Cuomo in a statement. “The damage incurred by Irene has devastated communities in counties across our State, leaving many without homes and towns and villages without essential public infrastructure. All levels of government are working together to help New York recover and we will not stop until the job is done.”

Federal funding also will be available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations in every borough in the city but Brooklyn.

FEMA said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.