White House approves disaster aid for towns hit by May storm

Sleeping Giant Park Association

Hundreds of broken tree limbs clutter hiking areas at Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden.

Washington – The White House on Monday agreed to provide some, but not all, of the assistance the state requested to help the victims of May’s severe storms and tornadoes.

In a disaster declaration, the White House said it will allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to help towns in New Haven and Fairfield counties pay for the cost of debris removal and damage to public roads and buildings. Gov. Dannel Malloy said his request for FEMA assistance to individuals who suffered losses in those violent storms is “still under review.”

If the individual assistance request is approved, homeowners may receive up to a maximum of $34,000 in federal grants for costs related to uninsured damage to their properties.

The governor also asked for help from a Small Business Administration disaster loan program, which provides low-interest loans to affected residents and businesses in disaster struck areas.

“This declaration will provide much needed financial assistance to our municipalities and the state,” Malloy said. “These storms had a devastating impact, causing significant damage that is still being cleaned up and repaired months later.  I thank the federal government for continuing to be a partner in these efforts.”

Litchfield County was also affected, but had not completed its damage assessment when Malloy asked for FEMA’s help in July.

The May 15 storm, which spawned a number of tornadoes and produced tennis ball-sized hail, caused significant damage in Brookfield, Danbury, New Milford, Newtown, Oxford, Ridgefield, Southbury, Winsted, Bethany, Hamden, Cheshire, Durham, Seymour, North Haven, Beacon Falls, and Wallingford.

On Monday, the Connecticut congressional delegation released a joint statement saying the White House’s disaster declaration “will unleash federal dollars to the state and municipalities who were on the front lines of responding to the massive damage and destruction from the severe storms and tornadoes that hit Connecticut.”

“We will continue to urge the White House to approve direct aid to individual homeowners—a request still under review,” the delegation said.