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President Biden approves disaster funding after devastating flooding in Leominster

LEOMINSTER, Mass. — President Biden has declared Leominster a disaster area after devastating flooding several months ago.

FEMA originally denied Leominster’s request for the damage caused by storms on September 11th last year.

“We’re thrilled,” said Leominster’s mayor Dean Mazzarella during a press conference Monday. “There are still just so many families and business out there who haven’t been able to rebuild.”

Mazzarella said over 1,400 city residents have reached out through FEMA for federal aid.

“It was something that I’d never seen before,” said city resident Elmer Bna.

He told Boston 25 his family will look into the possibility of seeking federal funding for their home.

“Our neighbors had to move since that day,” said Bna. “It’s sad to see them forced to move from where they’ve been living forever.”

City businesses like Laura Harps’ Angela’s Hair Studio are also looking into the process through FEMA.

“We had to be closed for two weeks,” Harps added, citing severe damage to their basement, floors, and walls.

Last winter, the agency said the damage from the event did not qualify for federal funding and the state should be able to cover the cost on its own.

Governor Healey and Leominster’s Mayor appealed FEMA’s denial of their request.

Flash flooding caused extensive damage in Leominster in September 2023 causing more than $36 million in damages in the city. after an unprecedented 11 inches of rain fell in the city in just a matter of five hours.

People of Leominster can now apply for grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and businesses recover.

“Most are sleeping but I just received this exciting news. I’m not sure of the exact terms but this is one major victory. Talk more when we get more information,” Leominster mayor Dean Mazzarella said on Facebook late Wednesday night.

The announcement also covers flood damage in Attleboro and North Attleboro which also saw extreme rain during the same storm.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the entire commonwealth.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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