Governor Kathy Hochul revealed today that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will extend federal aid to assist New Yorkers in Clinton County impacted by severe flooding in July 2023. This initiative allows residents and businesses in the county to access low-interest loans, providing crucial support for recovery efforts. The SBA has launched a unique program designed to offer additional financial assistance to individuals and businesses in rural areas affected by natural disasters. Remarkably, this marks the first instance where New York has secured such aid through the federal Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities program, which was ratified into law last June.
Governor Hochul emphasized the significant impact of heavy rains and flooding in early July, underscoring the adversity faced by small businesses and residents in Clinton County. The availability of low-interest loans is poised to aid those grappling with the aftermath of the devastating floods, offering a pathway to recovery. Hochul reiterated her administration’s commitment to ensuring that individuals enduring severe weather conditions receive comprehensive federal aid.
The Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities Act empowers the SBA to streamline the process for governors seeking SBA disaster declarations in rural counties. This novel program permits an SBA declaration with only one damaged property in a rural area, provided the county has obtained a Major Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance but not Individual Assistance. Clinton County’s eligibility for this groundbreaking program was confirmed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, paving the way for accessible low-interest loans for affected businesses and individuals.
Commissioner Jackie Bray from New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services praised Governor Hochul’s leadership, acknowledging the tangible support this initiative will offer to Clinton County residents. The unprecedented heavy rainfall in the North Country during July precipitated severe flooding, causing road closures and substantial infrastructure damage. Hochul’s proactive measures, including the mobilization of emergency response resources and coordination with local authorities before the storm, aimed to mitigate its impact. Post-storm assessments, conducted jointly by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and Clinton County, facilitated the identification of storm-related damages.
The approved Major Disaster Declaration for several counties, including Clinton County, secured federal financial assistance for debris removal, protective measures, and infrastructure repairs. Notably, individuals and entities in Clinton County may now qualify for various SBA disaster loans, ranging from home repairs for homeowners, assistance for renters, to substantial financial support for businesses and nonprofits, catering to their real estate and economic losses. These measures underscore a concerted effort to bolster recovery and mitigate the adverse effects of natural disasters on affected communities.