Biden overrules FEMA denial of federal flood aid

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Several homes experienced severe flooding last fall after incredibly powerful rainstorms swept the region. File photo
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In an announcement made on Wednesday, President Joseph Biden declared that a major disaster exists in Massachusetts, opening the way for federal assistance for those affected by the storms that struck last September.

This move makes federal funding available to those impacted individuals in Bristol and Worcester counties. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency had originally denied a disaster declaration, stating that the damage caused was “not of such severity and magnitude as to be beyond the capabilities of state, affected local governments and voluntary agencies.”

“Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster,” Biden’s announcement read. “Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the entire commonwealth.”

The flash floods which happened on Sept. 11, 2023, caused damage to 200 homes in North Attleborough. More than 10 inches of rain fell during the evening, and more than 2,000 power outages were reported.

North Attleborough Fire Chief Chirs Coleman said the Sept. 11 rainstorm was unlike anything he had seen in his career. According to Coleman, the department received 145 calls that night, and departments from 20 other towns and cities were called for assistance.

The following day, Gov. Maura Healey visited North Attleborough and met with local and state officials. She also met with homeowners whose homes had been damaged due to the flood. 

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can begin applying for assistance at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), or by using the FEMA App. Anyone using a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, can give FEMA the number for that service.