by Alex Lloyd Gross
Hundreds of people are homeless from the 100 year Storm. Thousands more sustained damage to property but are still able to reside in their homes. They need help. They need it now. What they do not need is a bureaucrat making excuses as to why help is not on the way immediately. When Governor Wolf toured the areas in Bristol and Bensalem Townships, residents thought things would get better immediately . They thought so.
“We pay our taxes and I cannot be late on my taxes but when I need help, you can’t come through,” one man said as he confronted Wolf at Lafyatte Garden on Route 13. The response the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency was that In order to receive a federal disaster declaration for Public Assistance, which provides funding the county overall must meet a threshold of $19.6 million in damages. According to the Red Cross who were taking information from residents in Bensalem, the number is around $12 million.
Creekside Apartments lost 60 units. Most of the people there are low income and fall below the poverty line. Many do not speak English and they are scared. People that work $8.00/hr jobs do not want to hear about bureaucracy, when everything they own is ruined. As Wolf spoke to people, he promised to do what he could go get aid, if that means calling the White House. he said he would do it. President Joe Biden reserved a front row seat for Tom Wolfe at his speech at the National Constitution Center, he should pick up the phone and give more than lip service.
PEMA Director Jeff Thomas said that if the number falls short of the threshold, “We can look at the Small Business Administration, that process is faster, easier and a lot of people would qualify. The criteria for that is 25 homes damages, we probably have that now, interest rates about 3 percent,” he said. This declaration is not just for businesses.
Politicians are shaking the money tree to see what falls out. Bensalem State Rep KC Tomlinson said “, I along with U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, Mayor Joe DiGirolamo and Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo visited with families to assess the damage and immediately reached out to Gov. Tom Wolf to declare this a disaster area. I am glad that the Governor answered our call and now he can see for himself just how devastating this storm was to our community. It is critical that we do all we can for these residents and continue to work together.”
In Bristol Township State Rep Tina Davis also has been busy trying to get help for people in her area. Houses on Spencer Drive and Snowden got damaged by water as well. Water flooded streets and got pushed into peoples homes by cars driving down the streets.
With many insurance companies doing what they can to not cover a loss, many people are at their wits end. While Wolf and his entourage did not pull out a checkbook right away, they did offer alternative solution’s that could help many people affected by the storm.Those solutions are just not going to be in the form of checks written overnight.