Colorado flood zone to receive $63 million from HUD

6:09 PM, Dec 5, 2013   |    comments
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LYONS, Colo. -Despite all of the help that has come to Colorado for victims of September's floods, there's more damage than money to repair it.

That gap in funding shrank just a bit Thursday, with the promise of $63 million in grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The announcement came in Lyons, a town in which the coming holidays promise a lot of silent days and silent nights.

There's nobody in the worst-hit neighborhoods where it's eerily quiet among the hollow houses, softly blanketed by the December snow.

"These homes had their foundations compromised," said Mayor Julie Van Domelen, taking advantage of her chance to show all this to a member of the President's cabinet.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said his department will send the $63 million in community development block grants for disaster relief.

80 percent of that funding announced Thursday will be dedicated to Boulder, Weld, and Larimer counties, where damage was the worst.

"The best thing about this money is its flexibility," said Donovan, explaining that it can be spent to restore government infrastructure, businesses, and private homes.

That's in contrast to money from FEMA and other agencies, which comes with a lot of restrictions.

With one in five homes in her town damaged or destroyed, housing is where Van Domelen wants to spend the most money.

"Insurance never covers all needs, many homes are uninsured, so it's a mixed bag of what people are able to do," Van Domelen said.

Those without flood insurance had to rely on FEMA for help, but the max that FEMA can pay out is $31,000 per claim.

That's nowhere near enough to replace a destroyed home.

Other programs like low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration are available on top of the FEMA funds, but no one can say for certain that everyone who wants to rebuild will be able to do so.

Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado) says he's recommending to local officials that 63 percent of the HUD money should go to housing.

It won't make everyone whole, but "they're not starting over from scratch," Hickenlooper said.

The rest of the money will go to help local businesses and governments, who also have a lot of rebuilding to do to breathe life back into towns like Lyons.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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