CULLMAN, Ala. (WHNT) - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is making an additional $49 million dollars available to Alabama communities. The money is intended to further help with efforts to recover from the April, 2011 outrbreak of deadly tornadoes. Relief officials and municipal planners met in Cullman Tuesday to discuss how to best use the money. More specifically, state officials who will administer this next round of federal assistance wanted to hear how the hardest hit communities would like to see the funding used.
The damage left behind by the tornadoes of April, 2011was almost unimaginable. Entire neighborhoods, entire communities were wiped out. Two years later and the rebuilding of homes, businesses, and lives is still underway, where funding is available. HUD is making an additional 49-million dollars available for tornado recovery. That money will be administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).
"We have to figure out, before we go out with the money, what the remaining needs are, and we really needed to hear from the locals, the people most affected by the storm what the remaining needs are, and this gave us a wonderful opportunity," says Al Jones, of ADECA. He says the needs vary from one community to the next. Housing tops the list in one area, business re-development in another. At Tuesday's meeting, infrastructure repair and improvements seemed to be at the top of most lists.
"So, there is help. There's just more need than there are resourses for. And this $49 million dollars will hopefully provide more opportunity for those who haven't got help to get help," Jack Green, of the Community Action Partnership of North Alabama, tells WHNT News 19. He says the communities that suffered the worst damage are still looking for solutions to the problems left behind by the tornadoes. Green says its hoped this additional funding will help find solutions for those areas.
Once the funding is awarded to the affected communities, they'll have two years to use the money. For more information, visit the ADECA website.
-- Al Whitaker