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Somerset County is Receiving Hurricane Sandy Assistance That Will Help Local Homeowners

In Maryland, a program intended to help renovate and rebuild homes that were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, which hit the area in 2012, is finally underway. The county’s Hurricane Sandy Recovery Program is income-based, and is basically a deferred loan. However, if homeowners never change the deed or title to the property, then nothing needs to be repaid.

Mark Konapelsky, Somerset County’s Code Enforcement Officer, says that six projects related to the program are currently underway. He believes that, over the next 18 months, a total of 30 homes will receive assistance.

One of the projects underway is the home of Tammy Bradshaw, who had lived on the street for 25 years before Hurricane Sandy forced her out. “There was no time to save anything, it was just too late,” she said, recalling the painful memory in an interview with local station WBOC 16.

According to Del Marva Now, applications for federal Hurricane Sandy recovery funds from homeowners in Somerset County have been steadily increasing over the past few months, with a total of $3.6 million in requests so far. The county has been awarded various government grants, including $8.6 million in Community Development Block Grant funds in February 2013. So far, funding has gone to various projects, including mold cleanup, economic development, and housing rehabilitation.

Karen Offutt, a resident of Crisfield, thinks the project will be a positive step forward for people still trying to recover from the impact of the storm. “I think it’s a great idea. A lot of people here really need the help,” she said.

Recovery from the hurricane’s devastating regional impact — most estimate that the storm’s damage cost the area $50 billion — has so far been slower than many would like. A year after the storm, this past October, many thousands of people were still unable to return to their homes. Though some have taken it upon themselves to try and restore their property, it’s generally inadvisable owing to structural danger and potential health issues. About 65 million Americans deal with back pain every year, and doing heavy construction work doesn’t tend to help that problem.

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