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Many surprised by disaster grants

by Cody Combs

Penn Yan, N.Y. Help is on the way. Thats the message delivered from Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy (D) as he visited Penn Yan a little more than one week after storms and flood waters damaged many homes and businesses in and around Yates County.

The help, this time, comes in the form of grants from the state. $10,000 grants will be made available to homeowners, and $25,000 grants will be made available to businesses.

This money, to me is putting your finger in the dyke, said Duffy, shortly after announcing the grants. This is to stop the damage now, bringing money right now to help the homeowners.

Penn Yen Mayor Leigh MacKerchar has been pushing for additional relief since Sunday, indicating businesses and homeowners needed more than just no-interest loans.

Unlike loans, the grant money will not have to be repaid.

For some, the $10,000 is a welcome burden lifted, but with all the damage, it could end up being a drop in the bucket.

Its hard to say, said Daryl Willoughby, whose Branchport home was seriously damaged. I have wall damage, my water heater is gone, its going to be hard to see if its enough or not.

Willoughby said although much work still needs to be done and more money will likely need to be spent, the grants are a much needed win for the area.

It feels pretty good that something good might happen to us. he said. Its all been quite a bit, quite a bit and hard to take.

Disaster Recovery Assistance staff will be helping residents and businesses complete applications at Penn Yan Fire Dept. , 125 Elm Street, Penn Yan on Friday, May 23rd from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm; and on Saturday, May 24th from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Affected homeowners, renters and small business owners who qualify must submit an application within 15 days of Friday's announcement of the program.

A state of emergency was first declared in Yates County on May 14th, and will remain in place until May 28th.

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Washington Times