Business community commits $110,000 to boost Steuben County Flood Response Fund

Oct. 18, 2021:

United Way of the Southern Tier’s Steuben County Flood Response Fund will receive a much-needed boost of $110,000 after area businesses stepped up to a challenge grant.

Corning Enterprises President Chris Sharkey initially offered to match up to $25,000 in donations from member businesses of Three Rivers Development, where Sharkey serves as board chair. But the match amount changed quickly when several businesses responded with donations totaling more than $55,000. 

“Wegmans came in with the last commitment of an astonishing $40,000, which made it easy to increase our match to cover the full $55,000 donated,” said Sharkey. “I’m overwhelmed by the generosity and responsiveness of our businesses to help neighbors.”

Other businesses that donated to the match include: Corning Credit Union; M&T Bank; Corning Building Company; LaBella Associates; Rossettie, Rosettie, & Martino LLP; Welch Law Firm, and Harter Secrest & Emery.

This boost to the Flood Response Fund helps buffer the disappointing news earlier this month that New York State’s request for individual assistance from FEMA was denied. An appeal of that decision has been filed and is pending.

More than 350 homes in southwest Steuben County were damaged or destroyed in flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Fred on August 18. While FEMA approved assistance to rebuild roads, bridges, and municipal assets, no assistance was approved for homeowners. 

United Way of the Southern Tier’s Flood Response Fund quickly disbursed its initial funds of nearly $120,000 -- provided by the Corning Incorporated Foundation, United Way, and private donations from individuals, community organizations and businesses. To date, 60 homeowners have received assistance through one of three United Way partner agencies to replace furnaces and water heaters or make other health and safety repairs.

While the additional support of the business community is generous and appreciated, it still won’t meet the full need, according to Stephen Hughes, president and CEO of the United Way of the Southern Tier.  “This funding will help another 50 families, which is fantastic, but we’ll still have helped less than one-third of affected homeowners, with few covered by flood insurance.”

Donations are still being accepted to the Flood Response Fund. Give online or mail a check to:
United Way of the Southern Tier
P.O. Box 284
Elmira, NY 14902

Make checks payable to “UWST Steuben County FRF.”

All homeowners who experienced damage from the August 18 storm are urged to call the 2-1-1 Helpline (just dial 2-1-1). All calls are referred to case managers at Arbor Housing and Development, Catholic Charities of Steuben/Livingston, or Pro Action of Steuben and Yates, Inc., who work with households to find available assistance and apply for funds.

All donations to the Flood Response Fund are fully invested in flood relief; no money is being withheld for administrative costs.

Media inquiries: Contact Lois Wilson at United Way of the Southern Tier. Email or call 607-377-5834.