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May 17, 2024

President Biden authorizes disaster aid to Worcester County for September storm damage

A man with white hair and a black suit jacket speaks at a podium in front of an American Flag. Photo | State House News Service President Joe Biden

Worcester County business owners and residents who endured storm-related repair costs due to September flooding may now be eligible for disaster aid, as President Biden has authorized assistance under a federal disaster declaration.

Eligible homeowners and renters who have endured damages to their homes, vehicles, personal property, businesses, or inventory are now able to apply for FEMA Individual Assistance. 

The authorization follows a March appeal by Gov. Maura Healey to the President and FEMA after her original request for a federal disaster declaration in December was denied, according to a Thursday press release from the Governor’s office.

“While many of these communities face a long road ahead, this declaration is a positive step forward in getting much-needed relief to those who need it most,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll in the release. “We are grateful to President Biden for granting this federal disaster assistance.”

Some communities endured more than seven inches of rain as a result of the September storm, resulting in evacuations, sheltering, water rescues, and construction of temporary roadways, according to the release. 

“Leominster and North Worcester County were devastated by last September’s extreme rain and flooding. We have people who are going into credit card debt and draining their savings to rebuild,” Congressman Jim McGovern said in the release. “That’s unconscionable—and I have been fighting with Governor Healey to appeal the federal government’s disastrous decision to deny Massachusetts the relief we desperately need and deserve. Today, thanks to our perseverance, part of that appeal has been approved—and the process of healing and rebuilding can begin.”

Gov. Healey has also requested public assistance to reimburse state agencies and municipalities across Worcester County for storm-related expenses. This request is under review.  

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