SCHUMER: CAMP GOOD DAYS, HIT HARD BY RECENT YATES COUNTY FLOODING, NEEDS SPECIAL DESIGNATION TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR FED DISASTER RECOVERY GRANTS – SCHUMER PUSHES FEMA TO PROVIDE CAMP GOOD DAYS WITH DESIGNATION IT NEEDS TO COVER REBUILD COST & CONTINUE SERVING KIDS WITH CANCER
May Flooding in Yates County Caused Severe Damage To Many Homes & Businesses, Including Camp Good Days in Branchport, Which For Decades Has Been Providing Care & Services For Children, Adults, Families Who Have Been Affected By Cancer and More – Camp Good Days Spent Hundreds of Thousands To Rebuild Parts of Grounds In Time for Summer Season, But is Seeking FEMA Reimbursement to Cover Costs
Currently, Without Special Designation Labeling Camp Good Days as Providing “Critical Services,” Camp is Only Eligible To Apply For Fed Disaster Loans To Fund Rebuilding, Not Receive Fed Grants – Schumer Says Camp Good Days Offers Critical Health & Wellness Services for Children & Adults, Should Receive Special Designation From FEMA Allowing It To Receive Fed Disaster Grants
Schumer: Camp Good Days Provides Critical Services & Should Receive Special FEMA Designation
Today, at Camp Good Days in Branchport, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to designate Camp Good Days – a year-round recreation facility and service provider for children, adults and families who have been affected by cancer and other life challenges – a “Private Non-Profit Critical Services” organization. Schumer explained that this designation is crucial in helping Camp Good Days recover from the massive May floods that hit Yates County and caused severe damage to the camp. Schumer said that Camp Good Days has requested FEMA reimbursement for flooding damages totaling an estimated $540,000, but in order for the camp to be eligible for this funding it must be designated a “critical private non-profit.” Schumer said that because Camp Good Days is a private nonprofit organization that provides educational opportunities and respite care, and is staffed by licensed doctors, registered nurses and social workers who provide care, it should receive this special designation. Schumer noted that other similar Yates County organizations like the ARC of Yates that suffered significant flood damage have received this designation as well and under FEMA regulations private non-profits such as libraries, zoos, performing arts centers, as well as emergency medical, and educational entitles can be designed as “critical private non-profits” to receive FEMA grant reimbursement funding. Schumer also announced that he had called FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer Steven Ward, the ultimate decision-maker regarding the designation, to weigh in on behalf of Camp Good Days.
“The devastating flooding that swept across Yates County hurt homeowners, farmers, renters, businesses, towns, and community organizations. All deserve every available assistance to help them recover, and that’s why I pushed to secure federal disaster assistance to aid the recovery. But that effort is far from complete. Camp Good Days is currently working to recover but, because FEMA does not yet recognize it as a ‘critical services’ organization, it is not eligible to apply for the funds necessary to be reimbursed for repairs it had to make this summer to open and serve local families and children,” said Schumer. “Camp Good Days is a special organization, on the front lines of helping those who have been impacted by cancer or other challenges, and it is tragic that it suffered from such serious flood damage back in May. We should not add insult to injury by making the camp ineligible to receive the funding it deserves and needs. That is why I am urging FEMA to provide this ‘critical services’ designation to Camp Good Days, because it not only provides the educational and wellness services required by FEMA, but also provides the good days and special times that families and children suffering from cancer need to remember that they will not have to face their battle alone.”
Schumer explained that Camp Good Days and Special Times, Inc. is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that provides year-round recreational and support activities in the Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse and Ithaca areas for children, adults and families who are facing the toughest challenges of their lives. Schumer said that, at Camp Good Days, participants have the opportunity to regain some of what cancer, violence, sickle cell anemia, or other life challenges have taken away from them. According to Camp Good Days, all of its programs and services are provided free of charge for the families and participants. Schumer said, however, that Camp Good Day’s non-profit status and commitment to offering services for free so that any family may participate, has made it hard for the camp to swallow the cost of repairs necessary to recover from the damage done by the May 2014 flooding in Yates County. The flooding in Yates County last May damaged facilities and flooded buildings across Camp Good Day’s grounds on Keuka Lake. The damages, ranging from building repair and debris removal to emergency protective measures and road and utility repair, totaled an estimated $540,000.
Thus far, Camp Good Days has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars making repairs to its facilities and grounds. Camp Good Days has requested FEMA reimbursement for 75 percent of the total $540,000 in estimated flooding damages. However, in order for Camp Good Days to be eligible for this funding, the camp must be designated as providing a critical service to the community. The camp is currently ineligible for these FEMA reimbursements and grants due to the fact that it does not have a “critical services” organization designation. According to FEMA, “critical service” organizations are defined as private non-profit organizations that can provide a variety of services, including power, water, sewer, wastewater treatment, communications, education, and emergency medical, fire protection, and emergency services. Many must also be open to the public. In addition, under FEMA regulations, entitles such as performing arts centers, zoos, libraries, community centers, and community arts centers, may also be designated as a “Private Non-Profit Critical Service” organizations and eligible for FEMA grant reimbursement funding. Schumer said that, because Camp Good Days is a private nonprofit organization that does provide educational opportunities and respite care, it should receive this special designation. Critical service organizations receive the benefit of being eligible to apply to FEMA through the State for permanent repair and restoration assistance. All other organizations are considered to provide “non-critical” services and must first apply for low-interest loans for repair of disaster damages through the Small Business Administration (SBA). Schumer said that, while SBA loans are often very helpful to certain organizations, the “critical services” designation would allow Camp Good Days to apply for the grants and reimbursements that would better cover its repair costs. A “critical services” designation would make Camp Good Days eligible for FEMA Public Assistance funding, allowing the camp to receive grant reimbursements of up to 75 percent of their $540,000 in damages.
Schumer noted securing this reimbursement is particularly important since Camp Good Days faces up to an estimated $200,000 additional cost to build new flood mitigation infrastructure after a localized flood again inundated parts of the camp grounds in August 2015. Since this August flood was not caused by the May storms, Camp Good Days must directly shoulder the cost of this new work to further shore up their areas prone to flooding.
Schumer also said that, though any facility damaged by flooding provides obvious concerns for residents, many of the campers undergoing cancer treatment that attend Camp Good Days have weaker immune systems, and often require special protections against mold and allergens. This kind of FEMA reimbursement funding would reimburse the camp for the necessary repairs to facilities to better ensure protection against materials, like mold caused by flooding, for those who attend the camp. Schumer also noted that there are other organizations in the Rochester-Finger Lakes area, and in Yates County specifically, that have received the “critical services” designation. This year, the Arc of Yates received a “critical services” non-profit designation, which allowed the organization to receive federal funds to repair damage following the May 2014 flash floods. Arc of Yates is eligible for up to 75 percent of the estimated $1.2 million spent to repair the damages it sustained.
Schumer was joined by Camp Good Days officials and local Elected Officials.
“On behalf of all the children and families served by Camp Good Days and Special Times, we are so excited to have the help and assistance of Senator Chuck Schumer in recovering from the flooding we had sustained in May,” said Gary Mervis, Founder of Camp Good Days & Special Times. “This summer, which was our 35 th Anniversary, was significantly put in jeopardy by the floods. Although we were able to hold all our residential camping programs, we still need to find a permanent solution to shore up the areas that continue to be problematic.”
Camp Good Days first reopened its doors to campers in July following the devastating May flooding after closing down for weeks to repair its grounds and facilities. One cabin was completely destroyed and needed to be replaced with a new building. The picnic area and creek was also revamped and reinforced with a barrier to prevent future flooding damage. Just this year, Camp Good Days celebrated 35 years of service to Yates County and its residents.
Schumer has long been a supporter of providing funding to communities impacted by recent flooding. In July, Schumer and Senator Gillibrand announced that FEMA approved New York State’s request for a federal disaster declaration to support and help communities recovering from severe flooding in May and June. Specifically, the Major Disaster Declaration was approved and issued for 11 impacted counties including Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Delaware, Herkimer, Lewis, Livingston, Ontario, Otsego, Steuben, and Yates. The Public Assistance Program provided grants to state and local governments and certain nonprofit entities to assist them with the response to and recovery from these disasters. Schumer and Gillibrand began pushing for this in May and continued through June as the flash flooding incidents persisted and continued to negatively impact residents and their properties. The Senators also announced in June that after their push, the SBA approved and made homeowners, renters and businesses in Yates County who were affected by heavy rains in May and June eligible to apply for special low-interest disaster loans.
To date, FEMA expects to provide Yates County applicants grant funding to share the cost of repairing and rebuilding 23 major projects, totaling $6.5 million, and another 118 smaller projects valued at $4.1 million. That's $11 million in damage to publicly owned facilities and infrastructure in Yates County from this event. A separate allocation will be provided to New York State of about $4 million to apply toward projects statewide to reduce future risks from natural hazards.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to FEMA appears below:
Dear Administrator Fugate:
As you know, Yates County residents, businesses, and organizations are still recovering and rebuilding from some of the worst flooding in decades. Camp Good Days, a non-profit organization that runs programs for children and adults who have been affected by cancer, is one such organization that was impacted by this past spring’s flooding. Camp Good Days has requested FEMA reimbursement for flooding damages totaling an estimated $540,000. In order for Camp Good Days to be eligible for this funding, though, the camp must be designated as providing a critical service to the community. Because Camp Good Days is a private nonprofit organization that provides educational opportunities and respite care, I urge you to provide the camp with a critical services designation so it can continue to perform its vital work for children and adults affected by cancer.
Camp Good Days is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides residential camping programs in Branchport, New York, as well as year-round recreational and support activities in the Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, and Ithaca areas. All of the programs are provided free of charge to participants, which include children, adults, and families that have been affected by cancer, sickle cell anemia, violence, or other life-threatening illnesses. These programs are fully staffed by licensed doctors, registered nurses, nurses and social workers to ensure the safety and well-being of our campers and staff. Camp Good Days provides educational and fun activities for campers, health services during all weeks of camp, and respite care for families that are affected by cancer. Since its inception in 1979, Camp Good Days has served more than 45,000 campers from 29 different countries and 22 states.
The flooding in Yates County last May damaged facilities and flooded buildings across Camp Good Day’s grounds on Keuka Lake. The damages, ranging from building repair and debris removal to emergency protective measures and road and utility repair, totaled an estimated $540,000. Though any facility damaged by flooding provides obvious concerns for residents, many of the campers undergoing cancer treatment have weaker immune systems, and require special protections against mold and allergens. A critical services designation would make Camp Good Days eligible for FEMA Public Assistance funding, allowing the camp to receive grant reimbursements of up to 75 percent of their $540,000 in damages.
I urge you to provide Camp Good Days with a critical services designation, which would make the camp eligible for the funding that it needs to offset the cost of repairing and replacing the flood damage. Camp Good Days provides critical services for children, adults, and families across New York and the rest of the country, and meets the criteria for this special designation. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter, and I look forward to your response. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me or my staff as 202–224–6542.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator