Snydersville, Monroe County - Hundreds of thousands of dollars are coming to help Pennsylvania pay for damages from Hurricane Sandy. President Obama signed a disaster declaration late Thursday. That means municipalities hit hardest by the fall storm are eligible for federal aid. There are 16 eligible counties in Pennsylvania. Five are in the Eyewitness News viewing area. They are Monroe, Pike, Northampton, Wyoming, and Sullivan counties.
Even though there will be more than half a million dollars in aid for Monroe County alone, some people say the government hasn't gone far enough to help. Many home owners are upset because the aid money will be set aside to pay for damage to public property and some non profit organization services. It will not help individual property owners.
April Fink and Carl Fink Junior own a home in Brodheasville. Hurricane Sandy devastated their small community. "It was almost like a bomb went off here," remembered April. The Finks told Eyewitness News the Federal Emergency Management Agency visited their community after the storm. Carl noted, "FEMA came around and it sounded like they were gonna help us."
But the couple learned Friday FEMA will not be helping them. The agency will not give aid to individual home owners or private communities. Carl complained, "I'm not happy at all."
The government agency only helps individuals after disaster if the total damage across a region reaches a predetermined number. In this case, 100 Monroe County home would have had to be what FEMA defines as "severely damaged" or "destroyed." There were only about 15 homes that met the criteria. April complained, "To have them come and say it's not damaged enough so you're not getting any help, that's not fair." Carl added, "You have pockets here that were struck pretty badly and I think they could help that out."
Without government help, and limited assistance from insurance companies, many people feel stuck. Carl frowned, "I'm very disappointed." And April said, "It's a shame that people have to struggle and not get any help."
It's too early to say how much money each municipality will receive. Community leaders will have to meet with federal representatives to discuss how much they need. Meeting dates have not been set. To learn more about the process click http://pahomepage.com/fulltext?nxd_id=306752