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Congressional Delegation Also Asks For Help In Howard County

Indiana's congressional delegation has joined Gov. Mike Pence in seeking federal disaster relief for Howard County.

Walls are now windows in Michelle Steelman's house, where she has lived for 27 years.

Photo: Jashin Lin / WFIU

Walls are now windows in Michelle Steelman's house, where she has lived for 27 years.

The Indiana congressional delegation is backing Governor Mike Pence in his request for federal assistance to help residents in Howard County after last month’s severe tornadoes.

In a letter to President Obama, the members wrote, “After surveying the damage and consulting with state and local government officials, it is clear the recovery is beyond the capabilities and resources of the State of Indiana.”

Governor Mike Pence requested the aid this week.

The governor also requested Hazard Mitigation statewide, which members say could lead to additional requests for other counties in the state.

In a statement, Congressman Larry Bucshon says he is thankful for the Governor’s push to secure help for Hoosiers.

“Should the Governor request federal disaster assistance for the area, I will work closely with the state and the appropriate federal agencies to ensure we have the resources necessary for recovery efforts here in Southern Indiana,” says Bucshon.

If the request is approved, Howard County residents would be eligible for grants they can use to pay for temporary housing and home repairs.

Disaster relief organizations estimate at least $2.8 million will be needed for Howard County. The Joint Preliminary Damage Assessment also noted that the affected area contained 45 percent low income residents.

Howard County has also been subject to other disasters since 2012 that have depleted the State Disaster Relief Fund, including a record flood this past spring. Currently, that fund has a balance of $348,000.

Alex Dierckman

Alex Dierckman is a reporter and anchor for WFIU/WTIU News and Indiana Newsdesk. She has been with the station since 2012. From Carmel, Indiana, Alex is excited to report and deliver the news in her home state. You can follow her on Twitter @alexdierckman.

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