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The Telegram
  • Landlords not eligible for flood recovery assistance

  • Insult to injury.

    That’s what Barbara Wiers had to say about the state’s decision not to make assistance through the Mohawk Valley and Upstate Flood Recovery Program available to landlords.

    “First the Federal Emergency Management Agency declared we would not be eligible for financial assistance, and now the state of New York has too,” she said.

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  • Insult to injury.
    That’s what Barbara Wiers had to say about the state’s decision not to make assistance through the Mohawk Valley and Upstate Flood Recovery Program available to landlords.
    “First the Federal Emergency Management Agency declared we would not be eligible for financial assistance, and now the state of New York has too,” she said.
    Wiers and her husband, Thomas, spent $31,000 from their life savings to repair flood damage to their rental property on Columbia Circle in the village of Mohawk.
    “Because we’re not the primary residents of the home we’re not going to get anything for it. We’re not going to get a dime or a nickel from the state,” said Barbara Wiers.
    “It’s the lack of answers that’s most concerning,” said Thomas Wiers. “You call the hotline the state has set up and you are told one thing. The next time you call the number you are told something else. There’s no continuity and that’s what’s so frustrating.”
    William and Virginia Jaquish own Creekside Mobile Home Park in Mohawk and are having similar problems when they call the flood helpline.
    “We were told we’re not covered by the program because we’re a landlord. It didn’t matter if we are a business or not, we were told we’re not eligible for assistance because we don’t live in the trailers. It don’t understand why that is such an issue,” said Virginia Jaquish. “All seven units in our park were lost to the flood. That’s big loss of income.”
    “We pay taxes just like all of the other homeowners who are eligible for assistance. We just want what’s fair,” said William Jaquish. “We’re not asking for more than everyone else, we just want to be eligible for the program. We have repairs to make too.”
    Peter Cutler of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services said while he understands the landlords’ frustration, the state is simply following FEMA guidelines.
    “After FEMA declared it would not provide money from its individual assistance program to assist those affected by the flooding in the Mohawk Valley and upstate New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo made good on his promise to provide what is needed to rebuild lives and homes by creating the flood recovery program. While the program is administered and funded by the state, it is based on FEMA guidelines. Those guidelines stipulate that landlords are not eligible for assistance unless they live at their rental property. If they did, they would be eligible to have their damages covered,” he said.
    Cutler said landlords can apply for a loan through the Small Business Administration.
    “The SBA offers low-interest, long-term loans that can help homeowners, businesses and in this instance, landlords,” he said. “It’s another type of assistance that is available.”
    Page 2 of 2 - “The SBA is an option for landlords, but it’s still another bill because it’s a loan,” said William Jaquish. “It’s still extra money that we’d have to pay out.”
    Carter also said while landlords cannot apply for assistance, renters can.
    “It’s great that there is assistance available to renters, but that assistance only covers the personal belongings they lost in the flood. It does not cover damage to the home. Those costs fall back on the landlord, because the property is our responsibility,” said Barbara Wiers. “We have renters and families that are displaced because their landlord does not have the moneys to make the necessary repairs so they can return to their home.”
    Carter’s advice to the landlords was to meet with representatives of the SBA at the loan outreach center at the Herkimer County Office of Emergency Services. The center is open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday.
    “The representatives there are able to provide answers to questions about loan eligibility, interest rates and term lengths,” he said. “They have the answers the landlords need.”
    “I’m sure we’re not the only landlords who were surprised to find out they are not eligible for assistance,” said Barbara Wiers. “This is a serious issue because there are landlords who cannot afford to take the initiative to make repairs and get their tenants back in the place they call home. There are landlords out there that are hurting and need help. And if the landlord is hurting, then a renter or family is hurting.”
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