Needham residents affected by the Aug. 8 storm will not be receiving government relief funds. Assistant Town Manager Katie King said that Needham and Norfolk County did not meet the threshold for federal disaster programs.
The update came at Tuesday’s Select Board meeting where King and Director of Public Works Carys Lustig gave an update on the DPW’s response to the flood and the status of possible aid for flooding victims.
After submitting SeeClickFix data for 134 residences and nine businesses obtained on Aug. 18, town representatives met with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) on Aug. 28 and were told it was very unlikely the state would meet the baseline for federal assistance, which is uninsured loss damage to 40% of the fair market value of the property.
On Sept. 7, a representative from the Small Business Administration Disaster Program visited 43 of the affected Needham properties to assess damage. Only 16 of those met the threshold for major damage.
“The thresholds are really quite high,” King told the Observer. “They are for all types of disasters and weather events. They’re set to cover a variety of scenarios. It’s tough because there were individual homes and businesses that were deeply impacted. We all completely understand the sadness and frustration.”
Next steps include continued follow-up with affected residents and businesses, neighborhood meetings to offer guidance on what individuals and the town can do to improve mitigation and prevention efforts in the future, and creating a tool kit for flood response as part of the town’s emergency management preparedness.