Photo by Elizabeth Izzo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo toured Underwood Estates in January following a flood that displaced homeowners. Low-interest loans are now available.

PLATTSBURGH | Residents and businesses affected when the Saranac River overflowed in January can now apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Gov. Andrew Cuomo requested the declaration last month.

“The low-interest loans will help individuals and businesses make repairs to rebuild their community expediently and stronger than before,” Cuomo said in a statement.

SBA loans are utilized when impacted parties need financial support following emergencies or weather-related disasters.

An assessment by state, local and federal agencies following the flooding in mid-January revealed 48 homes and nine businesses incurred “major damage” totaling $533,000 in damages.

Minor damage occurred to 22 homes and one business totaling $86,000.

Cuomo toured Underwood Estates in late-January, a mobile home park heavily impacted by the floodwaters.

At least five local agencies said they were unaware of how many businesses in Plattsburgh were impacted — including the owner of Underwood, who did not respond to an email seeking comment.

But at least 25 local families continue to await relief, from securing long-term housing to repairing damaged structures, according to the United Way of the Adirondack Region, which continues to aid in relief efforts.

“There is still a great deal of work to be done regarding long-term recovery efforts,” said United Way of the Adirondack Region CEO John Bernardi. “We’re certainly well aware of individual needs.”

United Way’s role has largely to been to facilitate coordination between stakeholders during the recovery process.

“We’re bringing all groups together and providing meetings for various groups, and providing info to residents of Underwood,” Bernardi said. “There’s a long way to go. There’s still 25 families in flux.”

A total of 70 people in total were displaced by the flooding.

“Some have moved out of the park altogether and are seeking to be located in permanent housing in another location,” he said.

Clinton County Department of Social Services is taking the lead in organizing relief efforts. Two local agencies, Housing Assistance Program of Essex County and Friends of the North Country, are aiding in housing.

“We’re helping with emergency rentals,” said HAPEC Community Development Director Bruce Misarski. “We’re getting a lot closer to getting replacements done.”

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