Four weeks after the devastating tornadoes in portions of Western Massachusetts, the focus is slowly shifting from emergency relief efforts to rebuilding plans.

On Wednesday, the American Red Cross plans to close a shelter at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. The shelter has been operating since the June 1 storms and at one point was caring for more than 300 people left temporarily homeless by the storms.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency also plans to close three disaster recovery centers in the region on Friday, though five others will remain open.

In Springfield, a public-private partnership will direct rebuilding efforts in severely affected neighborhoods, including several historic buildings damaged or destroyed by the tornado.

Gerald Hayes, a Westfield State University administrator, and Nicholas Fyntrilakis, a community liaison for MassMutual Financial Group, will lead the effort.

Disaster assistance for the Bay State has reached $2 million, according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA’s Housing Assistance Program accounts for more than $1.1 million of the total assistance, which includes grants to help pay for rent and home repair or replacement. More than $900,000 has been approved for the joint state-federal administered program, Other Needs Assistance. This program covers grants for the repair or replacement of personal property, as well as reimbursements for medical, dental, funeral and transportation costs not covered by insurance.

More than 2,700 residents have registered for disaster assistance to date.

Focus Shifts To Rebuilding After Tornadoes

by Banker & Tradesman time to read: 1 min