For Immediate Release - August 16, 2011

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES $230,000 IN COMPETITIVE FUNDS FOR STORM REBUILDING EFFORTS NOW AVAILABLE

Lieutenant Governor Murray visits Head Start program in Springfield, reminds residents & business owners to apply for federal disaster assistance by August 22nd

Visit to Head Start of Springfield
 

Lieutenant Governor Murray visits the Head Start Program in Springfield to highlight tornado relief and response efforts (Photo Credit: Norm Birenbaum/Lt. Gov's Office)

SPRINGFIELD - Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today announced the Patrick-Murray Administration is making $230,000 in competitive planning funding available to Western and Central Massachusetts communities that are rebuilding from the June 1 tornadoes. Lieutenant Governor Murray made the announcement while visiting Holyoke-Chicopee-Springfield (HCS) Head Start, Inc., which was damaged by the severe storms earlier this summer.

"We remain committed to supporting our municipal partners as we continue the important work of rebuilding communities affected by the June 1 storms. While it is encouraging to see the Head Start program in Springfield back to work, helping children and families in the community, there is more work to be done," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "We thank the Legislature for their support, and we look forward to seeing this funding help severely impacted communities become stronger than they were before."

The funds, which municipal officials can apply for beginning next week through the Department of Housing and Community Development, can be used for hiring a professional planner or regional planning agency to assist a community in its rebuilding efforts. Awards are expected to be made in late September, and are being supported by $15 million for state emergency response efforts included in a supplemental budget passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Deval Patrick in June.

"These planning funds will give communities a solid foundation to start rebuilding from," said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki. "We will work closely with local officials and agencies to determine the best way to make their residents, neighborhoods and businesses strong for the long term."

During his visit to HCS Head Start, Inc., Lieutenant Governor Murray received a tour from staff who detailed the extensive damage the center sustained to its windows, roof, HV/AC units, fences, playground, walkways and other infrastructure as well as the numerous trees that were uprooted during the tornadoes. Lieutenant Governor Murray highlighted the importance of a speedy recovery for community organizations like Head Start, and emphasized the Administration's willingness to partner in those recovery efforts. He also commended Head Start's resilience in reopening earlier this summer to serve area families immediately.

As Head Start and other businesses and individuals continue rebuilding, Lieutenant Governor Murray also reminded community members that FEMA has extended its deadline to register for disaster assistance to August 22 for individuals and business owners in Hampden and Worcester counties. The deadline for submitting disaster loan applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration has also been extended to August 22.

Residents and business owners may register for assistance by calling FEMA's toll-free number, 800-621-FEMA (3362) or 800-462-7585 (TTY) for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. The toll-free line is in operation from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Multilingual assistance is also available. Registration can be completed at www.disasterassistance.gov or with a smart phone at m.fema.gov. Applicants requesting information from the Small Business Administration (SBA) may call (800) 659-2955 or visit www.sba.gov.

To learn more about the Patrick-Murray Administration's comprehensive response to the storms, including securing a federal disaster declaration to unlock a host of federal resources for individuals, businesses and local government, establishing Storm Assistance Centers and providing guidance on health services, insurance claims, housing resources and contractor issues, visit www.mass.gov/stormrecovery.

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