Residents displaced by Hurricane Ida still await funding

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Residents of a neighborhood in Westchester are still out of their homes and unlucky after sustaining damage from Hurricane Ida seven months ago.

Residents of Babbitt Court in Elmsford say they cannot start rebuilding after the storm as they wait for the town to apply for the FEMA Risk Mitigation Grant.

The program isn’t available to individual homeowners, but it does provide funding to local governments to support risk mitigation projects, according to the state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

The money is used to reduce the damage of future disasters.

Babbitt’s neighbors say they need money to raise their homes several feet to avoid flooding from the Saw Mill River.

The problem is that the grant won’t cover any work done before the money is approved, so residents are waiting for the city to apply on their behalf.

According to dozens of emails reviewed by News 12, resident Jeannette Rodriguez has been asking the city for help since September but has received no results.

“There are things you’ll never get back,” Rodriguez says. “”I’ve been out of my house since September, so you have the holidays and all the special occasions that I can’t do at home anymore.”

The city council met with FEMA on Tuesday about next steps and plans to file the application before the June 1 deadline — far too long for residents still living in hotels.

“It’s a lot cheaper, it doesn’t help as many people, but people who have their homes raised don’t have a problem,” says Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner.

In 2004, the Army Corps of Engineers raised seven houses on Babbitt Court to help residents avoid major property damage.

City officials say they have been in contact with Homeland State Security and FEMA to discuss grant opportunities and intentionally dropped the national grant competition because they believed they would not meet. deadline and had to face more funding project competitions.

The latest round of state-administered FEMA grant opportunities opened on March 1.

If approved, the grant will cover 90% of the costs, according to the state.

Thirty-nine homeowners in the city have told authorities they would like their homes elevated, but only six are eligible, according to Feiner. At present, the city says it is focused on building three to six homes on Babbitt Court and will reassess the remaining homes next year.

The city is contacting FEMA to see if residents experiencing flooding in other parts of the city can also apply for the grant, especially residents near Troublesome Brook in Edgemont and Manhattan Brook in Fairview.

Their inclusion in the subsidy program may depend on the city’s ability to conduct a flood risk study. County officials say the Westchester Storm Water Advisory Board received a request from Greenburgh late last month to fund the study. The county planning department is reviewing it and will make a recommendation at its meeting later this month.

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