State has 30 days to appeal FEMA's denial of homeowner tornado assistance

Rep. Rosa DeLauro and other officials discussed getting Hamden, including Sleeping Giant State park, back on its feet following the spring tornadoes. (WFSB)

Officials visited Sleeping Giant State Park on Thursday and discussed disaster funds.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro joined Hamden Mayor Curt Leng to talk about the Federal Emergency Management Agency's approval of Connecticut's Disaster Declaration request.

Hamden is one of the few towns still cleaning up after the National Weather Service determined that an EF-1 tornado ripped through, tearing up trees and damaging homes. The landscape was changed forever in some neighborhoods.

DeLauro and Leng met on Thursday morning in the park at 9:30 a.m.

The request was made following tornadoes that wreaked havoc across the state in May.

See the damage from back then here.

“Lost about 10 or 12 trees over there, 7 trees in the back," said Abraham Oladipupo of Hamden.

Hamden's West Woods neighborhood was devastated.

"This has been a community effort, a team effort," Leng said.

FEMA will reimburse state and localities for emergency operations, debris removal, infrastructure repairs, and hazard mitigation.

"This process is a long one," Leng said. "And as time goes by, this tornado happened in May, as time goes by you start to get a little bit concerned even though there are a lot of assurances, the approvals are coming in that the money might not."

Hamden has already spent $2 million on the cleanup. More work needs to be done.

It will be reimbursed for 75 percent of the cost.

However, FEMA has denied individual assistance for homeowners.

"That is unconscionable. That cannot happen," DeLauro said. "These folks did not cause this disaster, it was a natural disaster and what we’re going to do is work to make them whole."

Connecticut has up to 30 days to appeal the individual assistance denial.

"I paid about $10,000," Oladipupo said. "My own money. Insurance is not covering that, our coverage doesn’t include tree removal."

Officials asked homeowners to hang on to paperwork and receipts and submit them so they can be used in the appeal process.

"I feel bad for them," said Louis Mineri, Mineri Tree Service. "It’s pretty expensive and it’s something that nobody really budgets for and it’s really devastating."

Sleeping Giant State Park remains closed to the public. Park officials still do not have an estimate as to when it will reopen.

Copyright 2018 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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