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Hochul's office: Immigrants in U.S. illegally eligible for Ida funds

Rep. Tom Suozzi, right, inspects damage caused by

Rep. Tom Suozzi, right, inspects damage caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida in Great Neck. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Immigrants living in the United States illegally are eligible for a special $27 million fund to help New Yorkers who are "undocumented survivors of the remnants of Hurricane Ida," Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office announced Tuesday.

The money will be channeled through "an established network of community organizations and provided to New Yorkers who are not eligible to receive storm recovery assistance through the FEMA Individual Assistance Program or other means," Hochul’s office said in a news release, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"When I saw the devastation of Hurricane Ida, I pledged that we would do everything in our power to help impacted communities recover, and this funding is a fulfillment of that promise," Hochul said in the news release. "With these resources dedicated to undocumented New Yorkers who are ineligible for FEMA relief and partnerships with organizations on the ground, we can close gaps in aid and help New Yorkers in need."

The program opened Monday and can be reached at 1-800-566-7636.

Between Sept. 2 and Sept 3, at least 13 people in New York City were killed from Ida, when record rainfall from the remnants of the hurricane flooded basement apartments and wrecked homes across the region.

President Joe Biden has asked Congress for billions to help in connection with disasters like Ida.

While those who aren't in the United States legally are entitled to some money from the federal government, certain programs require grantees to be U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals or a "qualified alien," according to the "FACT SHEET: Citizenship Status and Eligibility for Disaster Assistance FAQ" on the FEMA website.

On Long Island, two organizations helping administer the assistance include: the Economic Opportunity Commission of Nassau County, 134 Jackson St., Hempstead, 11550; and in Suffolk, Make the Road, 1090 Suffolk Ave., Brentwood, 11717.

Nassau commission's acting executive director, Eric Poulson, said in the release: "Undocumented residents are particularly vulnerable to the impact of disasters and faced with challenges of not receiving storm recovery assistance, when they still must meet their basic needs of housing, and meet the health and safety needs for their family. This assistance is meant to equal the playing field for our most disenfranchised residents."

Theo Oshiro of Make the Road is quoted as saying: "The flooding from Ida devastated our communities, causing enormous damage to the homes of many of the most vulnerable New Yorkers. We applaud Governor Hochul for taking the step to provide critical relief for immigrants excluded from federal disaster assistance."

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