City officials seek to restore tornado-damaged housing complex - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Springfield officials seek to restore tornado-damaged housing complex

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On Monday, city representatives toured around Hill Homes Housing property in Springfield for the first time since the June 1, 2011 tornado struck to see the scope of the damage and how they can help.

This tour was prompted by the Housing and Urban Development's plan to foreclose these damaged housing properties, which had been severely damaged by the disaster and then broken into by looters in the months following.  

Although Hill Homes Housing is a HUD property, residents and city officials said HUD has done nothing to secure or repair the properties. Only makeshift, tattered blue tarps and boarded windows now protect these buildings against the elements.

One multi-million-dollar question that looms in the minds of residents and city officials is why nothing has been done yet.

"There was really no activity with rehabbing the property from June 1, 2011 until Dec. 31, 2011, so we really just want some transparency on the whole situation and to know what exactly happened during that six-month time span where nothing was actually done," said Vickie Washington, a former resident who was displaced after the tornado struck.

"This is a black eye to the city of Springfield, and hopefully in a few months it won't be a black eye. But at this point in time, I'm very outraged and very angry that this has taken place. It has taken us so long," said City Councilor Bud Williams of Springfield.

Springfield College has also been looking at the destroyed properties for renovation.

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