New York Pledges $27 Million to Assist Undocumented Immigrants Hit by Ida

When the storm lastly died down, In Quickly Kim was left with nothing however the costume she was sporting.

She had even misplaced her sneakers as she frantically fought in opposition to the floodwaters that have been swallowing her basement condominium at nice velocity, trapping her inside. She had to make use of all her pressure to wrench the door open a number of inches, simply sufficient for her to wriggle out.

“I almost died,” she mentioned, breaking into tears as she recalled the evening earlier this month when remnants of Hurricane Ida swept into New York, unleashing torrential downpours that killed 16 folks, 13 of whom lived in New York Metropolis. A lot of those that died lived in basement flats, one of many metropolis’s few reasonably priced housing choices for undocumented staff.

Ms. Kim, 54, who works as a nail technician and lives in Faculty Level, Queens, has survived, principally due to an upstairs neighbor who lent her garments and a spot to remain briefly. Ms. Kim had been excluded from receiving federal reduction as a result of she is undocumented and was panicking as a result of she didn’t have numerous financial savings, she mentioned.

However that modified on Monday when Gov. Kathy C. Hochul and Mayor Invoice de Blasio introduced $27 million in help for undocumented survivors of the floods like Ms. Kim, who are usually not eligible to obtain storm restoration reduction by the Federal Emergency Administration Company.

“We’re at war with Mother Nature,” Ms. Hochul mentioned at a information convention on the Queens Museum overlooking Flushing Meadows Corona Park, situated in one of the numerous communities within the metropolis and in a borough that’s house to many immigrants. “It’s a smallest token of what we can offer, but knowing that we had a responsibility to these people, we could not walk away.”

New York State will contribute $20 million to the particular reduction fund whereas New York Metropolis will present $7 million, Ms. Hochul mentioned.

Fewer than 1,200 households are anticipated to entry that help, a determine Ms. Hochul mentioned was primarily based on the variety of properties that had been affected by the storm. Candidates are eligible to obtain as much as $72,000 for housing and different wants. They’ve till Nov. 26 to use for the funds by way of numerous native nonprofit organizations that help immigrants, together with MinKwon, Make the Highway, Catholic Charities Group Companies and the Chinese language-American Planning Council.

However representatives from many of the organizations mentioned that particulars concerning the reduction package deal stay unclear. In addition they mentioned that the variety of eligible candidates is prone to be greater than 1,200, provided that there are an estimated 500,000 undocumented staff in New York Metropolis.

Nonetheless, Theo Oshiro, co-executive director of Make the Highway New York, praised the initiative.

“These communities went through the worst of the pandemic, and now they’ve been hit by a storm. What we’re seeing is some recognition of the plight of these New Yorkers, but there is so much to do,” Mr. Oshiro mentioned.

Gov. Hochul additionally mentioned that given many misplaced their paperwork within the flooding, “not a lot” of documentation was required to use for reduction — only a letter from a landlord or a utility invoice displaying that candidates lived in a property hit by the storm. “It’s not going to be that hard, but the difference will be you do not have to prove citizenship to get this help.”

The severity of the storm caught New Yorkers without warning due to the velocity and measurement of the downpour. The loss of life toll included many undocumented staff who lived in cramped basements that lack fundamental security options like having multiple exit.

Ms. Kim and a number of other survivors mentioned they wish to use a few of the reduction cash to maneuver out of their basement flats.

Her condominium solely had a technique out — the door that she pried open.

She has lived within the condominium for 13 years and mentioned it had flooded twice already, though not as badly as this time round.

Felipe Idrovo, 53, who arrived in the US 20 years in the past from Ecuador, lives in a basement that flooded in East Elmhurst, Queens, when the storm hit. He too is trying to transfer out, however there are few choices within the metropolis the place low-income housing is at a premium.

Mr. Idrovo moved into his basement condominium final yr after dropping his job when he obtained sick with the coronavirus, he mentioned. The water has destroyed almost every little thing, he mentioned, together with pictures of his two grown sons who attend faculty in Ecuador, medical paperwork associated to his brother’s loss of life and even paperwork that show that he pays taxes.

Three weeks after the storm receded, he’s nonetheless making an attempt to salvage some paperwork by drying them out as a lot as potential. He has taken on a brand new job as a day laborer, however mentioned he doesn’t make sufficient cash to maneuver out simply but as a result of work is precarious. He has moved to a different room in the identical basement, one that’s nearer to the one exit. His outdated room, he mentioned, has mildew on its partitions from the water injury.

Nonetheless, Mr. Idrovo, who’s undocumented, is hopeful about being eligible for the brand new reduction fund. For one factor, he mentioned, he can proceed to ship some a refund to his household.

“I know that with this help I have a little bit more peace, enough peace to keep going on,” he mentioned.

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