Members of a volunteer tornado recovery group fanned out across Springfield last month to assess unmet needs of residents in the city’s most damaged areas. They released a survey today [Wednesday] and estimated a $1 million price tag for the work that still lies ahead. The survey’s findings were based on a door-to-door canvassing of nearly 4,000 households in neighborhoods damaged by last June’s tornadoes. It was commissioned by the Springfield Community Together Long Term Recovery Group, a coalition of professional, community and faith-based organizations. Spokesman Steve Abdow says the needs assessment survey not only gives the group a better picture of survivors current circumstances, but will also help it better access available resources to meet needs not covered by insurance. He says those needs include furniture, personal possessions, appliances and other household contents destroyed by the tornado.
“But the bulk of the needs are around construction, and folks who just didn’t have the money and have any insurance available to deal with some of their construction needs including roofs, windows, ceilings. So there’s folks who still have rain coming in through their roof a year later.”
Abdow says Springfield Community Together has already distributed $1.6 million in direct funding to tornado survivors in the affected neighborhoods. He says efforts are underway to raise an additional $1million, a goal he calls challenging but realistic. Part of that effort will be a 3-night benefit comedy show to be held in West Springfield, Springfield and Sturbridge beginning June 1st, the first anniversary of the tornadoes. At the same time, Abdow says, the group is also trying to raise $110,000 to cover six staffing positions through the end of the year. He says current funding will run out at the end of June.