Evans will have to wait for new relief money

11:01 PM, Feb 13, 2014   |    comments
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EVANS - Colorado communities and residents impacted by September's floods could see an additional $63 million from the federal government. It's from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and would cover needs not being met by FEMA.

The state of Colorado has to submit a plan for proposed spending before HUD distributes the money, and that plan was the topic of a public meeting in hard-hit Evans on Thursday.

Residents and town leaders learned that it would be at least a few months before they could potentially see any of the money.

Disappointing for those concerned about the more than 200 mobile homes destroyed in the floods. The Eastwood Village and Bella Vista mobile home parks are already considered health hazards, and town leaders believe the health impacts could be devastating as temperatures warm and the odors, mold and rodent infestations get worse.

It's estimated to cost about $1 million to clear the mobile homes.

FEMA denied requests for funding, saying it's against their regulations because the parks are private property. A spokesperson emphasized that FEMA has provided $11 million for flood recovery work in Evans.

"I'm in government, and I know that regulations need to be adhered to, and I know there are guidelines, but this is a situation you can't legislate for," Evans Mayor Lyle Achziger said. "You cannot make rules for every situation. This is a natural disaster."

"The mobile home park should have been taken care of a long time ago, and now it's a fire," said Mark Brothe, who lives next door to some of the destroyed homes. "It's a fire that's smoldering now and is going to be burning here in a few months."

A spokesperson from the Governor's Recovery Office said if the HUD money is approved for Colorado, there's a possibility Evans could get help before the summer.

The state has already created a draft of its action plan to let people know if they could be eligible for funding. State Leaders are taking public comment until Feb 18 and will submit their final plan on Feb 21. Applications for funding will be available soon.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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