ST. PAUL - Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives voted bi-partisanly to pass HF 1, a bill that would provide $180 million in disaster relief to communities affected by this summer's storms and flooding.
The $180 million disaster relief package is divided between 18 counties and 4 tribal lands throughout the state.
The bulk of the funds will be distributed to St. Louis County and others affected by the severe storms and flash flooding resulting from storms at the end of June.
While FEMA denied an appeal for individual assistance, the bill includes $12.2 million in homeowner individual assistance through the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and $15 million in business individual assistance through the Minnesota Investment Fund.
Through these programs, homeowners and businesses can apply for loans, including forgivable loans, to help repair some of the damage caused by the disaster.
State Representative Tom Huntley (DFL—Duluth) offered the following remarks:
"After watching the effects of this disaster unfurl over the past couple months, I am relieved that we were able to come together and provide some relief to those affected in Duluth and across the state. It's time to work towards closing this unfortunate chapter.
"After speaking with so many in our community, it was clear that providing assistance to homeowners and businesses is essential. And despite FEMA's denial of this assistance, I am proud that we have found a way to make sure that our communities can rebuild and our citizens can begin to restore their homes and their lives.
"When Minnesotans are affected by natural disasters, we have always come together to help them get back on their feet. Thankfully, with today's passage of this bill, we are continuing this legacy."