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Long-term recovery groups launch new funds for flood victims

By ANNA MEILER

ILION, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Flood recovery victims gathered in Ilion Wednesday, where Herkimer Oneida Organizations Active in Disaster, also known as HOOAD, told them they're not being forgotten.

The state was there to answer questions about Gov. Cuomo's flood recovery program and HOOAD and United Way announced new long-term recovery efforts being put into motion.

There were many frustrated flood victims there who are still struggling to recover from the severe summer flooding, including a woman who has been displaced since June. The flooding completely wiped out her home.

"It's red-tagged. I can't go back in it. Everything's in it, my furniture, my clothes, my bed, my TVs. They won't let me back in," said Smith back in July.

Fast forward five months and like many, Dolores feels forgotten.

"Our house is still standing there. Nobody cares. We want to know what to do with it. Nobody cares," said Smith. "It's hard. It really is. You know it's been a long time, so I don't know what else to say."

Smith received the maximum $31,900 from Gov. Cuomo's flood recovery program but her total loss is well over $100,000. United Way is stepping in with their partner organizations to help the victims that fell through the cracks of the state system.

"Either folks who missed the deadline and we've heard that today, folks who didn't receive enough assistance to get their lives back even on a basic track," said Brenda Episcopo, executive director of United Way, a local, non-profit organization.

Herkimer County will receive $62,300 and Oneida and Madison counties will receive $26,700.

"So, that's why from the very beginning we announced that the funds we would raise would be split. There will be help coming right now, but we had to set half aside for these longer term needs and that's exactly what's coming into play now," said Episcopo.

Money was also used to hire case managers.

"This is a huge step forward for our community to have a case manager identified. One place to call that can funnel the information to those that want to help and those who need the help," said Episcopo.

It's the first time in a long time Smith feels remembered.

"I feel good today that we came over here. A lot of people told me to come over here today, so I did. So hopefully something will come out of it you know," said Smith.

Flood victims should call the case manager in their county and provide information on what kind of assistance they're looking for.

Herkimer County Case Manager:

Theresa Scanlon

(315) 894-9917.

Oneida County Case Manager:

Jack Callahan

(315) 724-2158, Ext. 260.
 

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