Orange County homeowners recovering from storm damage running out of options for repair help

Gayle Margolin is among those who say they don’t come close to being income eligible for grants from the state’s $3 million fund after historic rainstorms flooded area communities.

News 12 Staff

Jul 25, 2023, 9:33 PM

Updated 261 days ago

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Several Orange County families are going to miss out on state grants to help pay for storm repairs after their homes were rocked earlier this month. Now, they’re scrambling to figure out what to do.
In Highland Falls, several residents who live in the low-lying neighborhood of Weyant Terrace just off Route 9W don’t qualify for state aid. And now these families are waiting to see if they can get federal aid.
Gayle Margolin is among those who say they don’t come close to being income eligible for grants from the state’s $3 million fund after historic rainstorms flooded area communities.
The home repair program issues grants of up to $50,000 - the amount of damage Margolin says her house suffered. But she says her household income is too much to qualify.
"I question how many homeowners qualify in these hard-hit areas because everyone I talk to here -- we're just hardworking, middle-class people,” says Margolin.
RUPCO, the housing agency that’s administering the repair program, says they’ve heard from 173 applicants, 122 of which appear to be income eligible.
Within days, some people could be receiving checks. Homeowners who don’t get state aid are hoping FEMA steps in.
Rep. Mike Lawler (R-17) wrote to President Joe Biden, asking him to activate emergency repair funding for private homeowners across the region, just like he did for public infrastructure. Lawler doesn’t want homeowners to give up.
"My objective is focusing in on how we can reduce -- not just the cost of living -- but the cost of maintaining your home when you have this type of flood,” says Lawler.
Volunteer groups who have helped clean out the affected homes say they hope owners get some sort of help, because the damage is staggering.
"Well, we go through a series of emotions, and sometimes it's overwhelming. It's sad,” says Mike Wold, of Project Rubicon.
If the federal government does grant assistance, homeowners could get more than just repair reimbursements — they could also get unemployment assistance and legal services.


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