Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) asking them to provide additional aid to victims of Hurricane Ida. This follows the release of data which shows that nearly 10,000 applications for disaster relief in Queens and The Bronx were denied.
“We have heard from countless residents in New York’s 14th and 16th districts that the aid coming from FEMA has been insufficient, and in some cases, non-existent,” wrote Representatives Bowman and Ocasio-Cortez. “For example, a constituent in the Village of Pelham, NY suffered multiple damages to their property, including a broken boiler, water heater, washer/dryer system, and structural damage to their basement. They applied for FEMA relief but only received $5,500, which was vastly insufficient for repairing essential home infrastructure. Moreover, the approved fund would fail to ameliorate health and safety concerns. Another constituent in East Elmhurst was denied assistance after informing FEMA that she did not leave her home in the wake of the storm. Countless stories from constituents in our districts wondering about the limited relief. Many other constituents recount long processing times and automatic denials. Despite submitting applications in early September, some of our constituents have yet to receive a decision, let alone any funds to begin essential repairs.”
Following a request from Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s office, FEMA shared that, as of November 22, only 3,943 of 10,694 applications from The Bronx have been accepted, with 4,628 having been found ineligible. In Queens, of 17,399 applications, only 9,057 have been found eligible, with 5,087 being denied. Additional reporting by WNYC found that, in the 10 eligible New York counties, only 41% of applicants have been approved for funding as of December 6th.