Heavy rains turned southeastern Connecticut into a flood zone earlier in the month, damaging more than 1,000 homes and 100 businesses, and causing almost $11 million, according to surveys.
Storms hit from March 12 to 14 and then from March 29 to 30.
In response, Gov. M. Jodi Rell is expanding her request to President Obama for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for financial assistance to individual homeowners and businesses in Fairfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London and Windham counties.
“This is critical news for homeowners and employers,” Rell said. “It offers them a financial lifeline to recover from storm damage. If this request is approved – and I have every reason to believe it will be – then the federal government will step in to help hard-pressed Connecticut residents and business owners recover from these devastating storms. I will be working closely with officials in Washington to move the process along as quickly as possible.”
Two types of federal financial help are available after a disaster.
Public Assistance is aid to state and local governments for damages and costs such as police and firefighter overtime incurred while dealing with a disaster. Individual assistance is aid to individual homeowners to help cover uninsured losses.
Rell has asked Obama to declare a major disaster in Fairfield and New London counties and to start the process to providing public assistance.
The public sector lost $11 million in those two counties, Rell said.
Over the weekend, Federal Emergency Management Agency and state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security officials continued to tally losses from the two bouts of severe storms.
Rell has asked Obama to declare the residents of Fairfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London and Windham counties eligible for individual assistance and to make U.S. Small Business Administration loans available to employers in those counties.
Rell also asked Obama to add Middlesex, New Haven and Windham counties to the major disaster declaration and to add Middlesex County to the list of counties eligible for public assistance.
FEMA, DEMHS and the National Weather Service are treating the storms as a single, related weather event. The heavy rains of March 12 through 14 left the ground so saturated and the state’s rivers so high that the subsequent rains caused severe flooding, Rell said.
Information on the program can be found on the Connecticut Housing Investment Fund (CHIF) Web site at www.chif.org.
Loans, offered at an interest rate of 2 percent, will cover the repair of damage to basements, foundations, roofs and insulation and the purchase of critical appliances such as furnaces and hot water heaters that were damaged from basement flooding.
The loans include maximum limits of:
- $20,000 for structural repair
- $750 for hot water heaters
- $7,000 for furnaces