Bushwick residents remember the first night of September this year, when Hurricane Ida plowed through the neighborhood, turning many avenues, including Knickerbocker and Wilson, into rivers. Throughout Bushwick, businesses and homes were damaged and destroyed. Thirteen New Yorkers died. 

On Sept. 26, Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $27 million relief program meant to assist undocumented immigrants affected by the storm. The program was specifically designed for those who, due to their immigration status, are not eligible for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

The deadline for the program was originally set to expire on Nov. 26, but the deadline has been pushed back multiple times. On Sunday, Gov. Hochul extended the deadline to Jan. 4.

“In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, we have been fully committed to helping all New Yorkers recover from this devastating storm,” Governor Hochul said in a press statement. “With this extension to apply for resources, excluded New Yorkers who are ineligible for FEMA relief and community organizations on the ground can now gather all the necessary information to apply to get the funding they need to rebuild.”

The program is managed by the New York State Office for New Americans (ONA), and eight community-based organizations are in charge of accepting applications and distributing the funds. 

Those who are interested in applying for assistance are encouraged to walk into one of the selected organizations and inquire. Applicants should also call the ONA hotline at 1-800-566-7636 between 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, to receive guidance on the documentation that needs to be submitted along with the application. 

Those living in Bushwick — and throughout Brooklyn — should visit the Chinese American Planning Council (4101 8th Ave, 4th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11232). For a full list of participating organizations, check out the list provided in this article.

Flooding in Bushwick. Image: @papaphoto_

According to state data, more than 1,800 people have already reached out about the program. Of those who reached out, 403 households submitted applications. So far, 54 households have received a total of $228,376. An additional 31 households have approved applications, and their payments are pending. 

The most recent extension was established to offer more time to help the community organizations distribute assistance and give applicants more time to gather information and the documentation they need to apply and be approved. 

“The Ida Relief Fund is a crucial resource for excluded New Yorkers who experienced the worst from Hurricane Ida. This extension is very good news for our communities, as it provides more time to ensure that as many of our neighbors as possible receive the help they need,” Theo Oshiro, the co-executive director of the immigrants’ rights organization Make The Road, said in a statement. 

Find more information and resources on the state’s website


Featured Image: @papaphoto_

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