Not-for-profit organizations that suffered damage when Lake Ontario water flooded the shoreline earlier this year are eligible for federal low-interest loans, Congressman Chris Collins announced.
The loans are available through the Small Business Administration. Eligible organizations include schools, colleges, food kitchens, homeless shelters, community centers, museums and libraries.
"This would allow a not-for-profit that suffered damage through the flooding and the like to apply for a loan up to $2 million, at a 2.5 percent interest rate for a period up to 30 years," said Collins (R, NY-27). "It's obviously depending on what work would be done. Major structural work might be 30 years but if your kitchen was flooded and you're replacing appliances, maybe that would be a ten-year loan based on the life of the asset."
The loans are authorized as part of the recent approval President Donald Trump's disaster declaration, qualifying Niagara and Orleans counties among those along Lake Ontario for federal aid. Monroe and Cayuga Counties were omitted from the declaration because, according to FEMA officials, those counties did not spend enough to meet a threshold for eligibility. Monroe County is attempting to change that.
Municipalities were also covered by the recent disaster declaration but private home and business owners, Collins explained, must seek relief through New York State.
The deadline to submit loan applications is January 16, 2018 for physical property damage and August 14, 2018 for "economic injury." That does not include losses resulting from customers who, because of flooding, didn't show up.
"They could attempt to do something through the state but there will not be any federal assistance," Collins said. "The business owner can insure his building but it has to have a separate policy to cover loss of income. While he may be rebuilding, that's a different category of loss and something that would not be covered by the federal government."
Collins is also pushing for replacement of the International Joint Commission's members with individuals who would repeal Plan 2014. While he acknowledged high winds and heavy rains contributed to rising lake waters this past spring, the congressman also blames Plan 2014 policies that, he says, placed more water into Lake Ontario and exacerbated flood conditions.
"When the nor'easter came in with 60-mile-an-hour winds, that was more water to be buffeted against the shoreline," he said. "You could argue that a lot of the worst devastation was caused by that additional water tied directly to Plan 2014, which we are continuing to work hard to undo."