BRISTOL, Vt. (AP) – Vermont Emergency Management officials want to know why the federal government denied a request to provide disaster assistance to individuals whose homes were damaged by recent flooding.

A presidential disaster declaration issued earlier this week authorized federal aid to help local governments and some nonprofit groups repair flood damage. But an application to help private homeowners was denied.

The denial will serve as a major blow to those homeowners severely affected by the flooding, said Bristol Town Manager Bob Hall.

Hall said he knew of at least a half dozen homeowners who bore brunt of the damage. State officials say 156 houses in Bristol and New Haven were damaged by the storms.

“For some people, it’s been a piece of cake, hasn’t been a problem. For others, it’s been an absolute ongoing disaster,” Hall said.

Vermont Emergency Management Deputy Director Duncan Higgins said homeowners should contact their insurance companies to see if they have flood insurance included in their coverage and to discuss what options they have. He also recommended contacting local chapters of agencies, such as the Red Cross.

Higgins said officials were waiting to learn why the application for private assistance was denied before deciding what to do next.

Town officials said they would do whatever they could for those affected by the flooding.

“If possible, we will be the passthrough for grant money. If the town has any role in this, it’s to try to find funds for these people to repair or move on to whatever they want to do,” Hall said. “I do think we have an obligation to do whatever we can as a town government to secure grants, low-interest loans, something like that.”

Flood victims such as Bristol resident Roxiann Hallock and her family were still homeless Friday, more than three weeks after a wave of storms dumped rain on their property Aug. 29. Their house was flooded by up to 2 feet of water, damaging most of the belongings inside.

“If it wasn’t clothing or plastic, it was lost,” said Hallock, 41. She and her husband, Randy, were renovating their house’s second floor before the rains came — they had moved most of their two daughters’ belongings from their upstairs bedrooms to the first floor. All but the girls’ beds and a single bureau were destroyed by the water.

AP-ES-09-25-04 1302EDT

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