One year after tornado, some places still rebuilding
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced $4 million additional dollars to go toward clean up and recovery efforts in western Massachusetts. The announcement comes exactly one year after tornadoes ravaged that part of the state. Our Brandon Walker has more.
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MASSACHUSETTS -- Where the money has been allocated runs the gamut from planting new trees to repairing and cleaning up tornado damaged forests. But as we discovered in Springfield, another pressing issue is housing. Particularly how to pay for it and where to put it.
"It's unreal. We can't believe it," said Gladys Orengo.
Joy of a new beginning for Orango after months of hardship. She and her three kids were hit by not one, but two weather emergencies in less than four months.
Orengo said, "There was no power. Obviously we lost a lot of food. We had no hot water."
That was last October during a surprise Halloween snow storm, months after last year’s tornado did just about the same.
Though one year later, all fears have subsided. Orengo, one of four tornado affected families working toward owning a new home through Habitat for Humanity.
"A number of the apartments that were taken out were definitely low income families who work one, two, three jobs and now have no home to live on," said Jennifer Schimmel, Executive Director of Springfield Habitat for Humanity.
A reality well illustrated in some affected areas around town.
Take for instance Beech Street, in a low income neighborhood. We met Yolanda Talley as she tried to salvage what could be wrestled from her home that was turned into a pile of rubbish. The lot is now empty and the house next door condemned. And a chilling silence surely a cold greeting to those who still live here.
Governor Deval Patrick toured a new library in nearby Monson. He says he realizes the road home hasn't even begun for hundreds.
Springfield's recovery, fighting to move along. One downtown grocery store was gutted by the tornado and reopened at the start of this year.
Besides Friday’s lunch special, you wouldn't know how far it's come.
And that's where Gladys Orengo hopes to be this coming Christmas, when her new home is scheduled to be completed.
"I'm so happy right now. I feel blessed," Orgengo said.