When it rains, it floods. That's a sad fact of life for low-lying parts of Long Island, brought to mind last week by torrential rains that flooded basements everywhere.
But for residents of Horton Avenue in Riverhead, skies cleared recently with the good news that they would finally benefit from millions of dollars in federal relief for flooding that had devastated their neighborhood in March 2010.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has reversed an earlier decision denying aid to them. Thanks to persistent appeals by Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), FEMA plans to award $3.6 million to assist the struggling homeowners, enabling state and local authorities to buy and demolish a dozen affected properties on the street.
Meanwhile, the Long Island Housing Partnership confirmed that it plans to build affordable homes nearby, some to be set aside for those who are losing their homes. What's truly commendable is how the Riverhead community was joined by county, state and federal officials in supporting these families, ably led by Linda Hobson, a social worker who also was displaced by the flood.
Even while prospects of federal aid seemed remote, church groups and local businesses raised money to help these residents rebuild, and carry on their fight. High school students sold Horton Avenue T-shirts they designed.
A community came together to help neighbors determined to stay together, at last brightening the skies over Horton Avenue.