Residents inundated by June floods in Western Maryland can apply for $5,000 in state cash, Gov. Martin O'Malley announced Friday.
The program will give grants to help cover medical, housing, and food expenses caused by June 12 flash floods that officials said destroyed about 200 homes in Allegany and Washington counties.
O'Malley promised the state would help ease the burden of distressed residents when he visited the area on Wednesday. He said in a statement Friday that "we must do whatever we can to meet the needs of these families and businesses in Western Maryland and to help those impacted by the storm recover."
Aid for western Maryland became a political issue last month when the Rep. John Delaney, a Democrat who represents the western, called on O'Malley to reconsider the decision not the request federal help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Delaney argued in a July 24 letter that perhaps the state had not realized very few residents were insured against the flood, and suggested that could help the state to apply to FEMA for federal money to help.
Delaney went on to tell his constituents at a campaign stop two days later fellow Democrat O'Malley has overlooked ways to help western Maryland, according to a report in The Herald-Mail newspaper.
State officials, including Maryland Emergency Management Admininstrator's director Kenneth Mallette, has said the flooding disaster was not big enough to qualify for federal aid. Instead, the state encouraged residents to secure loan-cost loans through federal Small Business Administration.
O'Malley's announcement Friday allows residents to try to recoup money spent on temporary housing, food and other necessities while they are displaced from the homes. The money can not be used to rebuild damaged property, state officials said.
The two-term governor promised Western Maryland residents he would find a way to help when he visited the area to promote a program in Cumberland that has reduced the hospital visits. As he toured Clear Spring, which sustained some of the worst flooding, O'Malley posed for photographs with Mennonite volunteers rebuilding some buildings and promised to help with transitional expenses, the Herald-Mail reported.
For more information on the grant call 855-769-5779 or visit the state's website: www.dhr.maryland.gov.