Feds give city disaster relief cash infusion

A large puddle blocks a piece of the Shore Road Promenade in Bay Ridge on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, a day after the remnants of Hurricane Ida bashed the city with heavy rainfall. Photo from amNY.

New York City will receive $188 million in disaster and resilience relief funds from the federal government to repair lingering damage from last year’s Hurricane Ida and prepare for the next storm, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge announced Thursday.

In a virtual HUD press conference to announce the allocation, Mayor Eric Adams welcomed the additional federal dollars.

“You understand that America’s cities are America’s engines,” Adams said. “It’s so important that we get the help that’s needed on the ground in a real way. And you’re doing that. And we need to be prepared for future disasters. It’s an unprecedented time and Mother Nature must be matched with the nurturing of our federal government.”

The funds come to the city as part of a broader HUD allocation of $2.2 billion to 10 localities and 13 states earmarked for relief and resiliency from 16 disasters that occured last year.

Adams attributed the devastation caused by severe storms like Hurricane Ida last year, and Hurricane Sandy nearly a decade ago, to climate change.

“The climate catastrophe isn’t so far off as we think it is,” the mayor said. “It is here, right now, it’s happening. We saw what Sandy did to our city, and we saw what Ida did as well. Ida had a devastating impact on our city, really uprooting communities and our infrastructure. And we know that the people of color and low to moderate income communities experience a disproportionate impact from climate disasters.”

Ida caused severe flooding that heavily damaged several apartments in East Elmhurst Queens and put a section of the Bronx’s Major Deegan Expressway under several feet of water.

HUD emergency funds, Adams said, were vital to the city’s immediate recovery from Ida last year. They helped with providing emergency shelters, evacuations and repairs for homes and infrastructure damaged in the storm.

Adams said he’s already identified several areas where this new influx of federal cash can best be used.

“Number one, it’s going to assist us in paying some of the bills we approved from Hurricane Ida,” Adams said. “We’re looking at the infrastructure, workforce development. We’re going to look at the full list of items that HUD is going to allow us to do, because we know the hurricane set us back. Trust me, we could use every dollar, we have a lot of nice that is coming out of Ida.”