Assemb. Gina Sillitti (D-Manorhaven) said there have been varying degrees...

Assemb. Gina Sillitti (D-Manorhaven) said there have been varying degrees of damage from Hurricane Ida last year and assistance from FEMA to affected homeowners. Credit: James Escher

Homeowners still recovering from the remnants of Hurricane Ida last year may receive some financial relief through a fund Assembly leaders are proposing with $50 million in state aid.

Assemb. Gina Sillitti (D-Manorhaven), who will be joined Friday by affected homeowners at a damaged home in Manorhaven, said legislators have agreed to propose in the governor’s budget money designated to help pay for repairs. The Assembly is expected to vote on the resolution early next week, Sillitti said, but the measure will have to be passed in the state’s budget in April.

"I promised residents when I met them [after Hurricane Ida] that I wouldn’t forget about them and I haven’t," Sillitti told Newsday on Thursday. "There’s been such a disparity between the damage caused by the [storm] and what FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] was able to provide. It just wasn’t enough."

At least 2,900 homes across New York State were damaged by the remnants of Ida last September, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced shortly after the hurricane, which in some parts of Long Island brought up to 9 inches of rain.

Wendy Teppel, whose home in Great Neck sustained more than $140,000 in damages, has advocated on behalf of neighbors affected by Ida. She had flood insurance and was able to file claims for repairs, but many of her neighbors did not have coverage. She said Sillitti’s proposal could help her neighbors "put their homes back together."

"This money that could trickle down, could provide these families with ways to improve their homes and restore them to the way they were," Teppel said. " It gives them an opportunity to get their house back."

Teppel said her two-story home with no basement was flooded with about 3 feet of water and that repairs included replacing walls because of mold, and hiring contractors for asbestos remediation.

M. Hasan Imam, of Manorhaven, has lived in his two-story home since the late 1980s and said he had never experienced anything like Hurricane Ida.

"There have been a lot of rainstorms; nothing ever has come even close to this," Imam said.

During the storm, he said water and debris created mudslides that covered his lawn and entered his basement and the attached garage, which was filled with more than 3 feet of mud. Imam said he used the $12,000 he received from FEMA to gut and replace his garage, and that his house sustained more than $100,000 in damages. Like many others, he did not have flood insurance.

Imam said his yard is still filled with mud, in some parts up to 4 feet, with broken bricks, empty bottles and other debris mixed in. Contractors are charging up to $50,000 to remove the mud, he said.

"We’re living in mud, going out in mud and coming home to mud," he said.

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