Source: WCAX, July 10, 2011, Jennifer Reading – Story and Video
“Residents in two more Vermont counties hit hard by spring flooding can breathe a sign of relief now that federal funding is in sight.
The work seems endless. More than a month after flash floods ripped through Barre, homeowners on Reid Street are still picking up the pieces. “We had a rug right here and it was soaking wet,” said Real Plante, a retired concrete pourer. Plante now spends almost everyday fixing some part of his water-logged home. And he says hiring help wasn’t an option. Construction costs alone — have set him back 15-thousand dollars. “Carpenter at $35 dollars an hour. You need two of them. I couldn’t afford it,” he said. So he’s cutting costs by cutting his own sheet rock and repairing his own floors. He found his insurance company to be of little help. He says living in a flood zone left him out of luck. But assistance may be on the way. “How ya doing? I’m with FEMA — Federal Emergency Management. I understand you’ve received some damage from the recent storms,” said FEMA’s Michael Murphy. On Friday, Washington and Caledonia counties won a federal disaster declaration from the President for the multimillion dollars of damage done by May flooding. This is the second declaration for the state of Vermont this year. Washington and Caledonia counties missed out on the first round of federal funding, but President Obama’s latest disaster declaration will help homeowner’s, like Real, get their homes back on track. FEMA officials were going door-to-door Sunday to get the word out that additional individual assistance may be available to those who qualify. The most important thing is to register with the agency, and from there benefits are handled on a case-by-case basis. “Once you call them and you go through their questions, when they’re done they issue you a nine digit number that tells you basically you are registered with FEMA,” Murphy said. Some individuals will qualify for grants while others will only be eligible for loans. Homeowners are encouraged to keep all receipts and inform inspectors about money spent on alternative housing. With construction costs growing by the day, this new declaration offers some consolation to stressed out homeowners.”