Press Release

Welch Meets with Residents and Local Leaders in Johnson and Hardwick to Discuss Long-Term Flood Recovery

May 30, 2024

JOHNSON and HARDWICK, VT – Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.) joined local leaders and impacted Vermonters in Johnson and Hardwick on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing flood recovery and resiliency efforts in both communities following the July 2023 flood, and how the federal government can better help the state rebuild. Senator Welch has visited and met with residents and leaders across Vermont in the aftermath of the catastrophic flooding. 

“Flood recovery is a long-term project. Rebuilding after a natural disaster happens over time, long after the flood waters recede. We’re fighting to get the folks in Johnson and Hardwick the resources they need. We’re also advocating on their behalf with FEMA to cut through some of the red tape that’s become a long-term challenge for impacted flood victims,” said Sen. Welch. “As communities continue to recover, we’re going to keep pushing to bring the flexible funds, the attention, and the long-term resiliency resources needed to rebuild stronger than before.”   

In Johnson, Sen. Welch was joined by local residents, local leaders and a researcher for the UVM Center for Rural Studies focused on affordable housing and rural community planning. He discussed the long-term impacts of the flood, ongoing infrastructure repairs, and Vermonters’ experience receiving assistance from FEMA. In Hardwick, Senator Welch was joined by the Town Manager David Upson for a walking tour where they saw town-owned damaged infrastructure and the former site of the Inn on the River, which was completely destroyed in the flood and will not be rebuilt. Sen. Welch joined Secretary of Transportation Buttigieg one week after the flood to survey damage in Hardwick. 

Earlier this month, Senator Welch led the Vermont Congressional Delegation in calling on FEMA to work with Congress and the Delegation to improve disaster response ahead of future emergencies and address the serious challenges Vermonters have faced in accessing FEMA Individual Assistance (IA) after the July ‘23 floods. In the letter to the FEMA Administrator, the delegation highlighted areas where FEMA assistance has fallen short for Vermonters, including inadequate direct housing assistance, an unclear application process, and insufficient technical assistance for impacted Vermonters seeking aid. Read the full letter here.  

Earlier this month, Senator Welch took to the Senate Floor calling for Congress to pass long-term disaster relief funding for communities impacted by natural disasters. Senator Welch highlighted the importance of delivering flexible funds like Community Development Block Grants-Disaster Relief, which gives communities the flexibility needed to rebuild and recover and help them to prepare for future disasters. He also partnered with nine other senators from disaster-impacted states urging the White House to strengthen and resubmit its supplemental disaster funding request for Fiscal Year 2025.  

View photos from Sen. Welch’s tour of Johnson and Hardwick below: