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Albany County eligible for FEMA flood assistance

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that Albany County is being added to the list of 12 counties in New York receiving disaster assistance due to the early spring snow and rain storms that drenched Albany and surrounding areas in mid April.

The heavy rains between April 15 and April 17 caused flooding to several homes in Bethlehem according to Albany County director of emergency management Terry Ryan.

We are in the beginning stages of talks with FEMA, said Ryan who is working in conjunction with the county executives office to implement an outreach program to assist residents to register for federal aid.

"Our goal is to work closely with New York to help communities recover from nor'easter damage," said Marianne C. Jackson, FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer.

Albany County is one of six counties eligible for individual state or federal aid assistance to homeowners, renters, and businesses. The program includes grants for repairs and for rent of alternative housing, low interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and grants for other needs.

At the request of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, President George Bush signed a major disaster declaration for New York State on April 24 following the storm. The initial designation was for Orange, Rockland, and Westchester counties. Since then nine more counties were included. They are Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Putnam, Schoharie, Suffolk, and Ulster counties.

Additional aid to local governments for emergency work is also available through FEMA under public assistance. Certain private non-profits that provided government assistance are also eligible. FEMA funds 75 percent of costs.

Residents in Albany County whose property or income was damaged by the nor'easter and subsequent flooding may register for assistance by calling (800) 621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily, or online at www.fema.gov.

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