Governor announces aid program for disaster-stricken counties

The National Emergency Grant is designed to create jobs for the unemployed.

On April 4, Gov. Jay Nixon announced an investment of $16.5 million in National Emergency Grant funding to create temporary jobs for workers affected by the severe weather last year, according to a news release.

According to the news release, 1,347 temporary jobs were created to help with efforts to rebuild destroyed businesses and areas. The jobs will also provide development services for areas that have lost jobs because of disasters.

Nixon's spokesman Scott Holste said the grant will focus on helping areas in need of cleanup and also allow them to continue efforts for gathering jobs for those out of work.

“The grant was designed to give certain counties — Joplin in particular — the funds to continue to hire temporary workers to continue to clean up disaster areas,” he said. “It was also designed to give back jobs to those who unfortunately lost them in the aftermath of the disasters.”

The federal government enacted $5.8 million to hire 404 workers in various temporary jobs to assist with clean-up and humanitarian efforts in counties such as Jasper and Newton following the tornadoes in the counties, according to the news release.

An additional $13.9 million was awarded for the purpose of continuing to give assistance to Joplin and to create another 446 temporary jobs for eligible dislocated workers to help with the cleanup.

The funds came from a National Emergency Grant designed to assists counties who are running out of money to clean up disaster areas.

Joplin was given more than half of the grant, amounting to around $7.5 million, Holste said.

The grants will be awarded to 29 counties in all, including Barry, Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, St. Louis and Wright among others.

Holste said the improvement of the ailing cities is vital for the funds to be effective.

“It is up to the towns as to what they will do with the funds given to them but hopefully they are used in order to improve and revitalize the towns to their original states,” he said.

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