Vernon Holds Public Hearing on Crumbling Foundations Crisis

Homeowners from several northeastern Connecticut towns threw they support behind applying for a federal grant that would pay for homeowners to have their concrete tested at a meeting in Vernon Tuesday night.

Crumbling foundations are a problem that NBC Connecticut Investigates exposed three years ago and hundreds of homes in Connecticut are in danger of collapsing because of the state of the foundations.  

The hearing was the first step in finding out how many homeowners are affected so that Vernon, Ellington and Stafford can apply for a block grant through the federal government. The grant would be through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

“When are we going to get it fixed? It's hanging over your head. It's a big big problem,” said Jim Tomko of Vernon.

For homeowners affected by the crisis, it’s a big problem that continues to haunt them. Their number one investment is cracking and crumbling beneath them.

“When it rains, it comes in, you throw newspapers down, the finest crack brings in the most water, so you're mopping up water every rainstorm,” Tomko said.

At Tuesday’s public hearing homeowners from Vernon, Ellington and Stafford gave their support for the towns to file a joint application for more than $500,000 from the federal government. That money would help pay for foundation testing, which can cost thousands of dollars per home.

Experts have said the crumbling concrete is caused by a naturally occurring mineral known as pyrrhotite. Many insurance companies don't cover repairs, which could cost about $200,000 per home. More than 700 homeowners have filed complaints with the state so far reporting crumbling foundations.

The state of Connecticut is pledging about $200 million over the next 10 years, but it might not be enough, so state and local leaders want federal assistance.

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