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Federal Aid On Its Way For Flood Victims In NY, NJ

Flood damage hit Little Falls in September of 2011 . (credit: CBS 2)

Flood damage hit Little Falls in September of 2011 . (credit: CBS 2)

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LITTLE FALLS, NJ (CBSNewYork) – As flood victims in New Jersey continue to clean up after Hurricane Irene and rain from Tropical Storm Lee devastated the state, there is some good news from federal officials.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond On The Story

The towns of Little Falls and Pompton Lakes will be splitting a $10 million FEMA grant to raise 60 homes above flood level and buy out others.

Congressman Bill Pascrell represents the areas hardest hit and helped secure the funding, but worries about political wrangling holding up the rest.

“This is one of the solutions because you cannot maintain the same situation and these homes are getting battered by every storm,” said Pascrell.
“People need relief. They don’t need promises.”

Little Falls resident Hans Prell is still waiting for his home to be raised.

“What’s that program that was on TV where they do the whole house in a week,” he said. “Is that really impossible to do?”

Local officials call the effort a good start but say something must be done to keep the river in its banks.

“This is a Band-aid on a hemorrhaging wound,” said Little Falls mayor Mike DeFrancisci. “The wound is the Passaic River and this is going to help out some of those people, but I have 450 people, 450 homes who are affected by this.”

Meanwhile, before going to the feds asking for money to buy out homes in flood prone areas, Manville borough officials want to see how many water weary residents they have.

“We’re trying to do just what we did after Hurricane Floyd in 1999, which was offer buyouts. But the first step in any of this process is to gauge interest,” said borough administrator Gary Garwacke.

He’s asking folks looking for FEMA’s help to submit a report in person or by e-mail on the borough’s website.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney In Manville

It’s early in the process, but Garwacke says he’s worried about federal funds given all the wrangling on Capitol Hill.

“I hate to have to be forced to draw a line where people qualify but there’s no money available for them,” he told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney

He says over 400 applied after Hurricane Floyd, but only 38 were actually bought out.

Financial help is also coming to hundreds of homes and businesses in New York for flood victims of Tropical Storm Lee.

New york Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that applications for federal disaster aid are now available online or by phone.

People in the southern tier counties of Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego and Tioga are eligible.