One Year after Western Mass. Tornado, Damages Remain

On the one-year anniversary of the tornadoes that ripped through a 39-mile track of western Massachusetts-residents of Springfield say that their city, the third-largest in the state-is still feeling the effects of the damage. The disaster killed four and injured many others, but its physical effects have affected residents indiscriminately by bringing down

The tornado left significant damage in a number of towns and cities across Western Mass., but Springfield, its residents note, is not recovering as well as some of the more suburban towns. Housing specialists say that this is particularly true for its lower-income neighborhoods as they are unable to provide the funds necessary for rebuilding. Many were already abandoned before the tornado struck, which has only exacerbated the problem as it has rendered many areas virtually abandoned.

According to the Boston Globe, the tornado was the most destructive to hit New England in 60 years. Although there is government aid being provided to the areas affected by the disaster, much of it has been slow to come in. Residents of Springfield now say that this has left abandoned areas prone to an increasing number of risks, such as drug dealers, vandals and other types of crime. Others have also noted that there are potentially dangerous consequences if they are not properly demolished, such as homes that may fall and damage the neighboring properties. Each house costs between $30,000 and 35,000 just to tear down, which has resulted in a gridlock between aid agencies over the payment of these bills.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is often the primary organization providing relief after these types of natural disasters, but the paperwork that must be filed to receive any funds can be overwhelming. In addition, the abandoned structures are frequently the result of residents who lost their homes because they were no longer able to live in them or pay for the necessary repairs. Many homeowners told of receiving little or no funds from their insurance providers, despite being under the impression that they were being provided full coverage.

If you are uncertain of your insurance policy or have related concerns regarding homeownership and would like to speak with an attorney at Altman & Altman, LLP, please contact us at (617) 326-5347.

A year after deadly tornado, Springfield neighborhood still reels,, June 1, 2012

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