A survey of people affected by the tornado in Springfield Massachusetts nearly a year ago finds dozens still have unmet needs. These range from major roof repairs to replacing household appliances and furnishings with an estimated total cost of almost $1 million. WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.
The findings are based on 8 days of canvassing in tornado impacted neighborhoods last month by experienced disaster response volunteers. The $1 million cost estimate is based on local construction material and labor charges, according to Steven Abdow, a board member of Springfield Community Together, the FEMA organized long term recovery group.
Abdow said its anticipated that more people will come forward seeking help as the one-year anniversary arrives on June 1st..
Springfield’s long term recovery group,which is made up of representatives from more than a dozen community and faith based organizations commissioned the Christian Reformed Worldwide Relief Committee to conduct the needs assessment. A team of 20 volunteers made nearly 4 thousand contacts and compiled a data base.
Abdow said the long term recovery group will do fund raising and will apply for grants from organizations such as the United Way, which still has funds it raised for Massachusetts tornado relief. There are plans to coordinate volunteers to do repair projects.
Just yesterday, the Patrick administration awarded $425 thousand for home repairs in all of the communities affected by the June 1st tornadoes.
The long term recovery group has a paid staff of six people including a licensed construction manager and a project manager. Dwight Parker is a case worker.
The survey also identified people with personal needs including emotional stress and financial losses.