HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — It has been a long struggle filled with stories of ruined basements and destroyed businesses, but help is on the way with money behind it for flooding victims living in Hartford’s north end.
“I really feel relieved and grateful that our voices are heard,” said Bridgitte Price, a resident of Hartford’s north end.
Residents attended meeting after meeting with lawmakers and congressmen, showing them pictures of their flooded basements, washed-out businesses and sewage backups.
Connecticut Speaker of the House Matt Ritter (D) announced they are working with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to correct the storm drain and water backflow problems.
“We have to start projects this summer, and I am working with Commissioner Dykes, who has been wonderful. They can do it without legislation. They can access clean water funds that can put about $150 to 175 million into neighborhoods in North Hartford, some larger, some smaller, some even on private property,” Ritter said.
And the state has also created a $5 million fund for residents in the north end who the flooding has victimized.
“People who have had damage suffered damage in their basement… it could be a homeowner, it could be a renter, it could be a business, they can apply to a fund and show the damages and the cost incurred to clean it up and get reimbursed for it,” Ritter said.
And while community activists are excited about the new fund, they know they still have a lot of work to do.
“We are going to have to work with churches and the media. We are going to have to get the word out, and we are going to have to have specific support so that if people can’t write or read and they’re having difficulty, they have a place to go to get help pulling these packages together,” said Cynthia Jennings, a civil rights and environmental attorney.
Community and environmental activists say this has been an uphill battle the entire way, as they have watched surrounding towns in the water district receive funding and fixes for their water problems, and the north end was left behind.
“I believe we are entering into the season of reconciliation and healing, we went and saw House Speaker Matt Ritter earlier, and we had our kumbaya moment. We embraced him, and we thanked him,” Price said.
“It’s a good reminder that you need advocates. You need people to bring things to your attention, which certainly happened here in this case,” Ritter said.
News 8 did reach out to MDC after business hours and have not heard back.
Lawmakers are hoping to have shovels in the ground this summer.
The video below aired in our 10 p.m. newscast on June 6, 2023.