CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that the federal government has approved his request for more than $640,000 to continue the employment of temporary workers who are helping Illinois communities with cleanup and recovery efforts from the spring 2013 floods. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to doing everything possible to help Illinois communities recover from natural disasters.
“Cleanup from a major natural disaster doesn’t happen overnight, and these workers are getting the job done,” Governor Quinn said. “It’s important that we continue to do everything we can to help our communities get back on their feet and that we leave no one behind on the road to recovery.”
The $646,534 Workforce Investment Act National Emergency Grant funds were awarded to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) from the U.S. Department of Labor. The funding is in addition to the $708,444 awarded for flood recovery employment services in June 2013. The grant will allow the continued temporary employment of eligible individuals to assist with flood cleanup and recovery, and will provide workforce development services to those who need it following the completion of their temporary jobs.
The spring 2013 flooding in 49 Illinois counties broke all-time records on four major river systems and caused significant damage to a number of communities. The Governor mobilized all available state resources to aid in cleanup and recovery, including debris removal, repairs, sandbagging, evacuations, supply deliveries and a grace period to file tax returns. Following the floods, Governor Quinn successfully secured a federal disaster declaration for 35 counties that to date has provided more than $240 million in federal grants and low-interest loans to more than 60,000 people and businesses in the affected areas. In addition, Governor Quinn secured federal assistance for local governments in 40 counties that, to date, has provided more than $20 million in federal funds to reimburse local governments for their flood-related expenses.
Earlier this week, the Governor addressed the National Journal’s Disaster Forum in Washington, D.C. to discuss needed changes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster aid criteria. The Governor is working with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Illinois’ congressional delegation to pass legislation that would give FEMA a clearer, more substantive formula when evaluation natural disasters. It will modify a flawed system that places small and rural communities in highly populated states at a disadvantage in the federal disaster declaration process. The bill assigns a specific weight to each of the factors already used by FEMA, and adds other economic factors for the agency to consider when determining whether or not an area should receive federal assistance.
Last year, Governor Quinn was appointed to the President’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. The task force will recommend ways to strengthen the way states and the nation respond to natural disasters.