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Vermont’s congressional delegation calls on FEMA to improve flood recovery efforts

Vermont’s congressional delegation calls on FEMA to improve flood recovery efforts

two people are standing in a field with a frisbee.
Members of a FEMA outreach team, dressed in dark blue shirts, talk to a resident of a flood-affected neighborhood on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, in Chester. The team knocked on doors in flood-affected areas to advise residents on how to register and apply for assistance under FEMA’s Disaster Survivor Assistance program. Photo by Stefan Hard/VTDigger

Vermont’s congressional delegation on Thursday called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency to address shortcomings residents said they faced in accessing federal aid after the July 2023 floods.

In a letter to FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, the delegation thanked the organization for providing more than $25 million in direct assistance to more than 3,600 households affected by the flooding.

But Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sen. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Rep. Becca Balint, D-Vt., also wrote that the agency fell short in several areas of its response. The delegation said “many Vermonters struggled to access” housing assistance, especially factory homeowners; FEMA’s correspondence with aid applicants was confusing; and technical assistance was unnecessarily delayed.

In its letter, the delegation demanded answers to a series of related questions, along with a staff briefing, by May 29.