Rep. Espaillat Calls For FEMA Relief To District Following Tropical Storm Elsa

July 14, 2021

Harlem Representative Adriano Espaillat sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA).

The letter called for immediate assistance to small businesses in New York’s 13th congressional district that were impacted by Tropical Storm Elsa.

“As heavy rainfall continues to cover the Tri-State Area as a result of Tropical Storm Elsa, I am concerned about the lasting effects that flash floods will have on New York City. Harrowing videos and images have shown New Yorkers, wrapped in garbage bags, wading around in waist-deep waters attempting to get to safety,” wrote Rep. Espaillat in his letter to FEMA Administrator Criswell and SBA Administrator Guzman. “News coverage has focused on the flooding in the subway stations and on roadways. However, I am particularly worried about the burden this will have on New York City’s already financially strained small businesses.

A lot of hope was placed in the rollout of vaccines, with 72.8% of New Yorkers having received at least one vaccine dose and 66.2% now fully vaccinated.

“As you well know, COVID-19 had a decimating impact on our small businesses – the often-unsung lifeblood of New York City. Many small businesses didn’t think that they would be able to survive the pandemic, and in fact, many did not. A lot of hope was placed in the rollout of vaccines, with 72.8% of New Yorkers having received at least one vaccine dose and 66.2% now fully vaccinated. Slowly, businesses have been able to reopen and implement social distance-compliant practices, like expanding outdoor dining options. To many, it seemed like the light at the end of the tunnel. For many, these floods have brought it all to a crashing halt.

“These small businesses define the identity and character of our communities. They deserve a reprieve after all that they have been through,” Espaillat concluded.

This letter comes after flash floods from Tropical Storm Elsa billowed across New York City, heavily impacting the recovery efforts of small businesses in New York’s 13th congressional district continue to rebuild in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, requiring massive cleanup efforts.

Rep. Espaillat urges support of FEMA and the SBA to coordinate with New York state and local governments to make new small business disaster aid available to businesses affected by the floods brought on by Tropical Storm Elsa.

Representative Espaillat is the first Dominican American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and his congressional district includes Harlem, East Harlem, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill and the northwest Bronx.

First elected to Congress in 2016, Representative Espaillat is serving his third term in Congress. Representative Espaillat currently serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Committee on Appropriations responsible for funding the federal government’s vital activities.

He is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), where he serves as the Second Vice Chair and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where he serves as Deputy Whip.

Representative Espaillat also currently serves as a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at

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