Two of the most powerful Dems in Queens politics have teamed up to fight for FEMA Aid for houses of worship that played a vital role in sheltering residents before and after Superstorm Sandy.
This week Councilman Peter Vallone plans to introduce legislation calling on the federal government to pass Congress Member Grace Meng’s bill and allow houses of worship damaged by Superstorm Sandy to receive aid from FEMA.
“Our houses of worship were here helping Queens when the government wasn’t, and now they need our help,” said Council Member Vallone. “Turning our backs on them now would be adding insult to injury – first the storm devastates them, and then, despite the charity they have displayed for centuries, we abandon them.”
Both during and after the storm, houses of worship were on the front lines taking care of the refugees and evacuees. But despite holding their doors open (and sustaining significant storm damage in the interim), all houses of worship are currently excluded from qualifying for federal aid to cover the cost of repairs.
“Three months since Hurricane Sandy battered our region, houses of worship continue to be denied the same treatment that is afforded to other non-profit entities,” said U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens). “This is unfair, wrong and must change as churches, synagogues, mosques and temples still struggle to secure the money they need in order to repair or rebuild their facilities. I will continue to keep up the fight in Congress, and I thank Councilman Vallone, Speaker Quinn and Councilman Recchia for their leadership on this issue, and for highlighting my effort in the New York City Council.”
The City Council’s Committee on Finance will be holding a hearing for the bill on February 7th, which is co-sponsored by Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Council Member Domenic Recchia.