Declaration comes after months of advocacy from officials on behalf of impacted residents

Washington (May 16, 2024) - After months of advocacy, Massachusetts Congressional delegation members and Governor Maura Healey today praised the announcement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that President Joe Biden approved Governor Healey’s request for a major disaster declaration for the damages incurred across the Commonwealth as a result of catastrophic flooding in September 2023.

“Governor Healey, Senator Warren, Congressman Neal, Congressman McGovern, Congresswoman Trahan, Congressman Auchincloss, and I have been advocating for federal relief for Massachusetts since last fall’s catastrophic funding,” said Senator Markey. “I am grateful that President Biden and FEMA have heeded the calls of Massachusetts residents in dire need of assistance and approved the Governor’s request for a major disaster declaration. I also thank FEMA Region 1 Administrator Lori Ehrlich for ensuring that Massachusetts’ voices were heard loud and clear. Residents and businesses in Leominster, North Attleboro, and across Worcester and Bristol Counties who were impacted by September’s storms will now have the opportunity to tap into federal relief as they continue to rebuild. I thank the first responders and local and state officials for their work keeping residents safe and responding to community members in need, both in September and in the months afterward. I will continue to urge President Biden and FEMA to approve the Governor’s request for Public Assistance for Hampden and Worcester Counties.”

“Federal disaster assistance will provide much-needed support for residents who have incurred significant repair costs as a result of the flooding we experienced in September,” said Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey. “Our communities have been through so much and continue to experience the impacts of these storms. I thank President Biden and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for recognizing the scope of the impacts this extreme weather event had on many of our cities and towns in Massachusetts.”

“Last September’s storms were devastating for families and businesses in Massachusetts. I'm grateful that President Biden has approved this much needed relief, which Governor Healey and I—and the rest of the Massachusetts delegation—worked hard to bring home,” said Senator Warren.

“Much of western and central Massachusetts was devastated by the severe storms in September 2023. As communities continue to rebuild, the federal government must do its part to assist recovery efforts,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal. “Governor Healey and her administration have been staunch advocates for our state, ensuring local governments receive the necessary funding to rebuild from the catastrophic storms. While I am pleased to see that individual assistance from FEMA has been approved, I remain committed to working with Governor Healey to ensure the Commonwealth’s entire appeal is approved, including public assistance that would greatly benefit Hampden County.”

“Leominster and North Worcester County were devastated by last September’s extreme rain and flooding. We have people who are going into credit card debt and draining their savings to rebuild. That’s unconscionable—and I have been fighting with Governor Healey to appeal the federal government’s disastrous decision to deny Massachusetts the relief we desperately need and deserve. Today, thanks to our perseverance, part of that appeal has been approved—and the process of healing and rebuilding can begin. While I’m grateful that individual assistance from FEMA is on the way, I continue to call on President Biden and the White House to approve our entire appeal, including public assistance, so that local governments are made whole again after the catastrophic damage they incurred last year,” said Congressman Jim McGovern.

“Since heavy rains caused devastating flooding in communities like Fitchburg and Leominster last year, our federal delegation has worked tirelessly to secure disaster funding we need to fully recover,” said Congresswoman Lori Trahan. “Today’s declaration by President Biden unlocks those funds, and I look forward to working with the Healey-Driscoll administration to put them to use across the Commonwealth.”

Following the flooding on September 11-13, 2023, the Congressional delegation wrote to President Biden and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell asking them to approve Governor Healey’s request for a major disaster declaration for Massachusetts. After FEMA denied the initial request, in March the delegation again wrote to the President and FEMA urging them to approve the Governor’s appeal.

Additionally, as part of the major disaster declaration, President Biden approved Individual Assistance funding for residents and businesses impacted, as well as Hazard Mitigation funding for the Commonwealth, which will support Massachusetts in efforts to rebuild that will reduce the risk of future disaster losses in affected communities.