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$20m coming to flood weary homeowners along Lake Ontario

Posted at 1:10 PM, Aug 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-07 13:11:29-04

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York State is set to earmark up to $20 million dollars to help homeowners dealing with on-going damage linked to Lake Ontario flooding.

The money will be part of an expansion of the state's Department of Housing and Community Renewal Residential Home Repair Program.

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued the update on Wednesday in a letter to Lake Ontario municipalities.

The full letter is below.

August 7, 2019

Dear REDI Municipalities/Grantees:

With the first phase of the Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) underway, we are pleased to provide a progress update on this important community planning process. As you know, in response to the extended pattern of flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, REDI was created to address the immediate and long-term resiliency needs of these areas while also enhancing economic development opportunities and health of the lake. The REDI aims to develop a new vision for rebuilding and enhancing the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shoreline from resiliency and economic development points of view, including protecting critical infrastructure and enhancing natural features that support coastal resilience.

Since we all gathered in Rochester this June, New York State planning teams have empowered REDI communities to bring hundreds of project ideas to the surface, to potentially be funded with up to $300 million. Two planning meetings have been held in each of the five regions, with at least two more to come by the end of September. Facilitated by the state's technical experts, communities are now examining the resiliency and economic benefit of their proposed projects, with the end goal of producing the highest quality submissions to the REDI Commission.

As a point of clarification, local government can propose projects to protect against economic loss from home value deflation by flood exposure where the local government has identified a geographic configuration allowing a break wall or dunes to protect a critical mass of homes. For example, a water barrier will be ineffective if designed to only protect several homes as the water intrusion from the surrounding neighbors moot the effect of the barrier. Local governments would need to submit geographically and physically feasible project designs.

While our focus is on regionally-significant efforts, we have also heard from a number of homeowners still in need of individual assistance and as a result will earmark up to $20 million of the $300 million for an expansion of our Department of Housing and Community Renewal Residential Home Repair Program.

We are estimating awards of approximately up to $15 million total for qualifying projects per county and additional funding of up to $160 million in total for regionally significant large-scale economic development and resiliency projects.

On behalf of the REDI Commission, we are grateful for the tremendous participation of the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River communities thus far and are eager to review your submissions. Working together, we are confident that we can produce projects of great long-term community protection and benefit.

In addition to the REDI efforts, the state has undertaken significant tourism enhancement activities including I LOVE NY advertising, free fishing licenses on Lake Ontario and reduced park and camping fees.

Together we will get through this challenge. Thank you for your help.


Commissioner Basil Seggos Commissioner Howard Zemsky

REDI Commission Co-Chairs

cc: Senator Ritchie, Assemblymember Barclay, Assemblymember Manktelow