Dominic Dagostino, left, hands over a $1,000 donation on behalf of the Schenectady County Conservative Party to Rotterdam Junction Fire Department Chief Shawn Taylor, as Mike Viscusi looks on with Conservative Club President Robert Hamilton, right.
continued There are a few people Taylor personally knew took advantage of reimbursement programs offered by FEMA for temporary housing in hotels or rental assistance, but he said each case is a little different.
“Most people are staying with relatives or family for the time being right now,” Taylor said.
Donations received by the fire department previously allowed the department to hand out around $700 to the 91 affected homeowners to provide assistance. Funds are still trickling in, Taylor said, but once more donations are received another round of handouts will go to homeowners.
Giving the same amount to every homeowner was a way to “fairly” distribute the money. There is a committee overseeing the distribution of funds, which include a member of the community, fire department, fire commissioners, fire department ladies auxiliary and business owners.
“What we did way early in the process, days after the flooding, we set up the [relief fund] for the people affected by the flood to get whatever they needed to get back up on their feet,” Taylor said. “Some of the donations really couldn’t be used until now. Now is when the donations are starting to really be needed and unfortunately as time goes on … people forget about the urgency.”
He said people are mostly focused on bringing their home up to code now, which can be a costly process since many of the homes are older. This could involve rewiring a home to plumbing repairs and updates.
“It is not just the flood water damage they have to deal with, it is all the other hidden expenses that go along with it,” Taylor said.
Anyone interested in donating to help flood victims in Rotterdam Junction can make a check payable to the Rotterdam Junction Fire Department Relief Fund. Those funds are distributed directly to residents by the department. For information on how to deliver a donation call Chief Shawn Taylor at 441-8746.