Motorists driving north and south on Peninsula Boulevard negotiate their...

Motorists driving north and south on Peninsula Boulevard negotiate their way through flooding in Woodmere during a record-breaking storm in late September. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced that federal assistance would be opened to Long Islanders and New Yorkers who sustained property damage in a record-breaking September rainstorm.

That help, in the form of low-interest disaster recovery loans from the United States Small Business Administration, is available to eligible residents and business owners on the SBA website and at a loan outreach site at the Ralph G. Caso Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola, along with two sites in Brooklyn. The Mineola site will be open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All three sites will close permanently December 22.

Homeowners are eligible for loans of up to $500,000 for repairs. Business owners are eligible for up to $2 million to replace real property, inventory and equipment. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans of up to $100,000 to repair or replace damaged personal property.

“These low-interest loans will help alleviate the impacts of the flooding,” Hochul said. “I am committed to securing as much federal aid as possible to all areas of our state disaffected by extreme weather events.”

In a statement, Rep. Anthony D'Esposito (R-Island Park) said it was "crucial that we marshal all potential federal resources to support Long Islanders impacted by September’s heavy flooding, and this is a step in the right direction.” 

D'Esposito said he would continue to push for a Major Disaster Declaration covering the record storm. Hochul's request to President Joe Biden for that declaration is still under consideration, she said. It would result in additional federal assistance for Nassau, parts of New York City and Westchester County.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said in a statement that "we appreciate The Governor’s effort to secure funds for those harmed by September’s floods."

The Sept. 29 storm closed parkways on Long Island and a terminal at LaGuardia Airport. It forced evacuation of a senior housing cooperative in Elmont and inundated city subways. It dropped an estimated 9.06 inches of rain on Valley Stream and 8.89 inches at Kennedy Airport in Queens, surpassing a record for September set during Hurricane Donna in 1960. 

At Valbrook Diner on Merrick Road in Valley Stream, co-owner Thomas DiStefano said the flooding — unlike anything he’d seen in nine years at the location — destroyed $20,000 worth of food as well as his office. DiStefano said he would consider using the program but the water had destroyed much of the paperwork to document his losses: “checkbooks, invoices, the books for the last 10 years — it was just a big mess.”

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