BOSTON President Obama declared that a major disaster exists in Massachusetts following the June 1 tornadoes, making the state eligible for federal disaster aid.
The announcement Wednesday means residents of Hamden and Worcester counties affected by the tornadoes blamed for the deaths of three people and the destruction of about 200 buildings are eligible for grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the disaster.
Federal funding is also available to state and local governments as well as some nonprofit organizations for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the storms. In addition, federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the entire state.
FEMA said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
The tornadoes made hundreds homeless when it tore through downtown Springfield and east into southern Worcester County.
With reporting from The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom