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Homeowners have until 5pm to apply for Lake Ontario flood relief

WBFO File Photo

Homeowners along the Lake Ontario shoreline whose property was damaged by floods this year have until Friday toapply for state-funded relief.

New York State has made $15 million available to support homeowners affected by the severe spring and summer flooding. The program provides grants of up to $50,000 dollars to property owners whose costs are not covered by insurance or other disaster recovery funds.

In order to beeligible for the assistance, property owners must have been living in their home as a primary residence at the time of the flood. Second homes are eligible for assistance if the homeowner's total income is less than $275,000.

The funds can be used to support repairs to and restoration of structures, equipment and other physical damage. However, many homeowners are just now getting an idea of what kind of repairs they need.             

"The water didn't really start receding until several weeks ago, so I think homeowners took their time to figure out what the full brunt of the damage was," said David Seeley, Irondequoit town supervisor.

Another issue is finding contractors to do the work. The demand is outpacing the supply.

Greece town supervisor Bill Reilich noted that even if homeowners do not have all the documentation they need, they can still apply for funds ahead of the deadline.

"If people have had their work done, they can submit their bills and the state will send a check directly to them,” he said. “If they are estimates, they can send that to the state and the state will then send a check to the contractor once the work is done. If they don't have either, they can give their best guess estimate and, as we go forward, that can be fine-tuned."

The deadline to submit applications online or by hand is 5 p.m. Friday. Mailed-in applications should have the postmark of September 29, 2017.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for Niagara, Orleans, Monroe, Cayuga, Jefferson, Oswego, St. Lawrence and Wayne counties. Applications should be submitted according to the county in which the primary or secondary home is located.

Applications for Niagara County homeowners are available from Niagara Falls Neighborhood Housing Services, 716-285-7778; Orleans County from Pathstone, 585-546-3700. Both organizations are also available to answer questions and help homeowners apply for relief.