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Mon September 26, 2011
Tornado Rebuilding Gets A Boost
By Paul Tuthill
Springfield, MA – A national affordable housing organization has announced a project to help a number of low income families rebuild their tornado damaged homes in Springfield Massachusetts.. WAMC"s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports..
The organization, Rebuilding Together, plans to repair 25 homes in just five days using a thousand volunteers from corporations, churches and area colleges. The blitz build is scheduled to start Saturday, Oct 1st, the four month anniversary of the tornadoes. The executive director of the Springfield chapter of Rebuilding Together, Colleen Loveless said the project will help low income people who have no insurance or need repairs not covered by insurance.
Loveless said the work will concentrate on roof repairs and debris removal. She said the organization, which has been working to preserve affordable housing in Springfield for almost 20 years, has more requests for help than they accommodate at the moment
Annie Johnson, whose home of 41 years was condemned by building inspectors because of tornado damage, has a contractor doing major repair work to the roof and walls, but will get an assist from the Rebuilding Together volunteers to put in finishing touches so she can home again..
Volunteers for the blitz build are coming from several businesses including Mass Mutual Corporation , TD Bank, and Hampden Bank, which has also donated 10 thousand dollars. Volunteers are also coming from colleges, including Springfield College, Western New England University, and UMass Amherst.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno welcomed the project and praised the volunteers.
More than 500 housing units were destroyed and hundreds more damaged, according to Springfield housing officials.
The city is hosting an information fair later this week for people affected by the tornado to meet with expects who can help them sort out issues with insurance, housing, employment, education, government benefits and more.