It was the biggest scandal in recent memory: hundreds and possibly tens of thousands of homes suddenly deemed worthless out of no fault of the occupants.
The affected homes, mainly in the northeastern corridor of the state, were built on a foundation that contained, pyrrhotite, a mineral that naturally dissolves when exposed to water. The homeowners were also left with the bill of making the necessary repairs after insurance companies denied the claims under the guise that it didn’t fall under their definition of collapse.
Repairing a broken foundation is no laughing matter, either. It could cost as much as $200,000 to make the necessary fixes.
CT Mirror reports that Governor Malloy implored FEMA to aid the affected families, claiming that this debacle qualifies as a “natural disaster.” FEMA only assists in events triggered by major disasters or natural catastrophes.
Malloy reminded FEMA that a similar controversy happened in Quebec and the Canadian government willingly contributed to the remediation program. The Governor also asked FEMA to establish a field office in the state to help conduct a preliminary assessment of the affected homes.
So far, the state is aware of about 580 affected homes, but up to 35,000 could be at risk.
Unfortunately, FEMA determined that the ailing foundations did not meet their stringent requirements and opted to keep their purse closed. A FEMA spokesman told the Mirror,
“The crumbling foundation conditions experienced by individuals does not appear to constitute an emergency or major disaster. Rather, this appears to be a consumer product or construction safety issue, something which FEMA has previously not treated as constituting an emergency or major disaster incident as contemplated by the Stafford Act.”
The Stafford Act is what guarantees FEMA’s aid in events of naturally-caused calamities, such as earthquakes and hurricanes. However, there’s no law that obliges them to help families stiffed by a company looking to cut corners.
Despite the rebuke, Malloy’s administration remains hopeful they will come to an understanding with FEMA to help the families out of the sticky situation.
Do you think the Governor has a shot?