After pressure from members of Brooklyn's Congressional delegation, including Reps. Edolphus Towns (D -- Brooklyn), Jerrold Nadler (D -- Brooklyn and Manhattan), Nydia Velazquez (D -- Brooklyn, Queens & Manhattan), Yvette Clarke (D -- Brooklyn), Michael Grimm (R -- Brooklyn and Staten Island), and Anthony Weiner (D -- Brooklyn and Queens), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has declared Brooklyn a disaster area, making the borough eligible to receive federal funding to help cover the cleanup costs of the December 2010 blizzard.
Nearly two feet of snow buried neighborhoods throughout New York City, including Brooklyn, last December. The ensuing cleanup efforts forced the City to exceed its snow budget for the entire 2011 fiscal year -- and is estimated to cost in excess of $60 million in recovery costs, lost revenue, and residential and private property damage.
Brooklyn has been approved for Category B funding for "emergency protective measures." These include steps taken before, during, and after a disaster to save lives, protect public health and safety, and prevent damage to public and private property.
The funding could be used to cover the costs of emergency repairs, search and rescue, and the installation of warning devices like signs or announcements, among other measures. State and local governments, as well as certain non-profit organizations, are eligible for assistance.
"It is heartening that FEMA understands the enormous burdens localities bear during natural catastrophic events," Congressman Towns said. "It is incredibly difficult for local governments to generate resources to meet these demands and we appreciate the federal government's assistance."
"I commend FEMA's decision to extend the disaster declaration to Brooklyn and thereby make disaster funds available to our hard-hit borough," said Congressman Nadler. "The blizzard of December 2010 covered Brooklyn in nearly two feet of snow, creating well-documented and serious hardship for residents, workers, businesses, and emergency teams. Federal assistance can now help defray the extensive costs that Brooklyn incurred as a result of the storm."
"This designation will mean additional federal and state resources to help Brooklyn recover from the snowstorm that struck late last year," said Congresswoman Velazquez. "December's snowstorm was historic, and bringing this additional funding to bear will help our communities recover more swiftly and fully."
"I am grateful that FEMA has added Kings County to the Major Disaster Declaration for New York so that funds will be available to those individuals, organizations and non-profits that were gravely affected by the record snow falls last December. I applaud Rep. Weiner for taking the lead in calling on FEMA to adequately address the needs that arose in Kings County. As the sole member of the New York City delegation serving on the House Homeland Security Committee, I will continue to support initiatives that better prepare our city for potential disaster whether man made or natural," stated Congresswoman Clarke.
"All of New York City was hit hard by the blizzard, and Brooklyn should have been included from start," said Rep. Grimm. "I'm pleased that FEMA has finally realized the extent of the winter storm damage and made Brooklyn eligible for much-needed aid."
"I'm pleased that FEMA made the right decision," Weiner said. "This declaration is much-needed and will give Brooklyn residents the help they need to cover the massive cleanup costs of the blizzard."