Some Vermonters Fed Up With FEMA Funding Debate

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(Host) Some Vermonters are depending on Washington as they struggle to recover from Tropical Storm Irene.

Though the debate over federal funding for disaster relief has been resolved for now, many are fed up with being in the middle of congressional standoffs.

VPR’s Kirk Carapezza reports.

(Carapezza) Jody Pindt says she’s lost confidence with politicians in Washington.

(Pindt) "We need some more help. I think that they’ve got their own agendas and it just doesn’t matter what the people want."

(Carapezza) Pindt lives off Route 4 in Bridgewater. Irene wreaked havoc on her house and her furniture repair business, Just Jody’s.

The waters undermined her home’s stone foundation; ruined her furnace and water heater and put her out of a job.

She’s already got $2,000 dollars from FEMA.

But now she’s battling mold problems as she waits for additional federal money to help her offset cleanup costs.

(Pindt) "I just hope these elected officials put their personal feelings aside and do what’s right for the people who work hard for their money and are just trying to make a living."

(Carapezza) The town of Sunderland is in a similar situation. Select board member Mark Hyde says FEMA doesn’t know whether it can come up with funding to help the town with debris removal on the only east-west road in town.

(Hyde) "We’re just trying to put things back together here in the town of Sunderland."

(Carapezza) But Hyde says he’s concerned that the money for repairs won’t come through because of Washington politics.

(Hyde) "If they don’t fund this it could be between $50,000 and $100,000 in road repair alone and that’s a lot of money for a small little town like us."

(Carapezza) The Bennington County town has fewer than 1,000 people, and Hyde says many of them are counting on disaster relief.

(Hyde) "This is playing with people’s lives and we can’t have politics dictate whether or not someone can get to their house because the road is damaged."

(Carapezza) Until funding is approved, Hyde says people in Sunderland will do the best they can with what resources they have.

For VPR News I’m Kirk Carapezza.

(Host) You can read the latest select board minutes from Sunderland and other towns at VPR’s Public Post. Is the FEMA standoff in Congress also affecting your town and neighbors? Let us know at Public Post.

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