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One year after Lodi floods: Has NYS delivered on promised help?

August 13, 2019 10:19 PM

LODI, N.Y. (WHEC) -- One year after devastating flash flood waters decimated homes, cars, boats and anything else in the way, the Seneca County community of Lodi is still trying to recover.

Nine inches of rain fell in a matter of hours. The water overflowed a major creek in the area and swept away mobile homes and campers with people still inside. Miraculously, no one was seriously injured but the damage was severe.  

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News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke was on the ground in Lodi the day of the flood and has been following the cleanup efforts since. Many residents say, they're still waiting for promised help from the state.

The state of New York promised $13 million to help with recovery efforts in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes following the devastating flash floods but the only victims who can apply for up to $50,000 in reimbursements are those whose primary residences were damaged.

"There was no help offered for businesses or secondary homes," says Will Shangraw, the owner of Sunset on Seneca Campground.

Twenty-three mobile homes, motor homes and trailers were washed away from his campground during the flood and since that day, Shangraw has worked around the clock to clean up his property and keep his business afloat. He wonders why the state offers help to businesses along Lake Ontario damaged by flood waters but not him.

"I had questioned what the criteria was that they met and we didn't and there were no answers. In fact, that was the end of the emails and phone calls. It just went silent and no one responded after that," he tells News10NBC.  

Frank Miller does qualify for help. His home is right below the campground and suffered major damage.

"I did everything they requested, turned it in and followed up on it and waited months," he says.

It wasn't until last week that he got a partial reimbursement for some of the receipts he submitted but not others.  

Mike Mott, who lost three vehicles, a camper and his house in the flood, hasn't even gotten that far.

"We're not approving you for anything, you have to do this, this and this and I said you've got to be kidding me. Our house, it's not hard to find. It's been on the news, it's the one with the campers, cars and the governor standing on our back porch," he recalls telling the agency passing out the funding.  

But a year later, he hasn't gotten one dollar. 

A spokeswoman for NYS Homes and Community Renewal tells News10NBC in a statement, "The state has a due diligence process in place that aims to protect taxpayer dollars while providing residents with the critical assistance they need."
 
So far, in the Southern Tier Finger Lakes Recovery Program, which includes the counties of Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Seneca and Tioga counties, the state has received a total of 235 applications for assistance.

One hundred and twenty-nine have been approved, 41 have been denied, 64 are under review or require additional information and one was withdrawn.

In Seneca County, a total of $325,960 in funding has been released with $306,743 going to addresses in Lodi.  

Credits

Jennifer Lewke

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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