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Governor announces state to cover local share of Irene/Lee home buyouts

By NEWSChannel 2 Staff

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo says that New York State will use available funds from the recently approved HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery program to cover the 25 percent non-federal match requirement of property buyout costs associated with Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

Approximately 1,143 properties in 17 affected counties have been processed for buyouts under FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).

The estimated total project cost for the buyouts is just over $194 million, which puts the 25 percent non-federal share cost at approximately $48.5 million.

“The destruction and devastation caused by the combined impact of Irene and Lee has left a lasting impression on the landscape of all of the communities that bore the brunt of these two powerful storms,” Governor Cuomo said. “But the disruption to the lives of the property owners in each of these communities has been far worse and we must do everything we can to alleviate their financial burden. By assuming the 25 percent share of the costs for the buyouts, we can help individual property owners and their communities continue their recovery and restore their lives.”

On April 26th, Governor Cuomo and U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced federal approval of New York State’s recovery action plan to help struggling homeowners and businesses following Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee. The State’s recovery action plan is supported with $1.7 billion in HUD CDBG-DR funds.

After the Lee/Irene Declaration, the State announced a federally-supported mitigation program. Affected counties and communities were given three opportunities to provide a letter of intent (LOI) in three phases with the last due on June 30, 2012. These LOIs delineated specific mitigation factors for affected communities, including buyouts for badly damaged properties.

The 17 counties are Albany, Broome, Chenango, Clinton, Delaware, Essex, Greene, Montgomery, Orange, Otsego, Rockland, Schenectady, Schoharie, Suffolk, Tioga, Ulster and Westchester.

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