Maryland Senators Voice Concern Over Storm Aid
Hearing on Damage From Hurricane Sandy
Maryland officials told a hearing of the Senate subcommittee on Homeland Security of the in Washington yesterday that they were determined to get federal aid for individual hit by Hurricane Sandy, especially for those on the Lower Shore.
Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, senior member of the Appropriations Committee said, "When you talk about rural people whose incomes depend on either commercial fishing or on agriculture, they are rich in pride, patriotism and individualism, but they're very often cash poor."
The Federal Emergency Management Agency denied a state request for assistance to individuals who are trying to repair the damage done by the storm.
The state is appealing the decision.
Senator Ben Cardin told the committee that the Lower Shore town of Crisfield has been as hard hit as any area affected by the storm. "If you live in Crisfield Maryland you are suffering as any part
or any community in this storm with homes that are not habitable. " He said, "In Crisfield 32 percent of the population is below the poverty level. They have homes they can not live in. "They are looking to
us for help."
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate also attended the hearing said he would call Governor Martin O’Malley and continue to work with the Democrat in dealing with the aftermath of the storm.
Meanwhile, Delaware Senator Tom Carper told the subcomittee that his state would need between $7.5 million and $9 million from FEMA to cover the cost of response, preparation, clean up and repair as a result of the storm.
In addition, he said that federal agencies such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corp of Engineer are still assessing the damage in the areas that they are responsible for, but he estimated it would be in the millions of dollars.
However, the Delaware Democrat told the subcomittee the cost could have been higher without prevention work to minimize the damage from such storms.
"In Delaware," he said, "A relatively small investment in prevention, in the tens of millions of dollars helped protect almost 20,000 homes and our coastal communities with a value of some $7 billion.
Investing in protection clearly paid off," he added, "And we must find ways to support and possibly expand this type of cost effective prevention to secure lives and property for years to come."
Federal Money Needed for Housing Vouchers in Crisfield
Somerset County officials are looking for federal assistance to cover the rent for 70 families who are now at local motels after finding themselves without homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
The Crisfield Housing Authority has run out of money to cover the vouchers of 68 tenants of the public housing complex known as Somers Cover Apartments.
The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the County Commissioners sought money this week from the Community Development block Grant.
County planning director Gary Pusey said that without the funds these people will – in his words – be out on the street as early as this week.
The Crisfield Housing Authority has paid for the vouchers and the renovation of 140 of the units with funds from its own checking account as it waits for payments from it flood insurance policy.
Pusey said that so far there has been no additional funding from the US Department of Housing and Community Development which owns the public housing complex.