State officials discuss climate change and impacts on Puerto Ric - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

State officials discuss climate change and impacts on Puerto Rican evacuees

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HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

Lt. Governor Karyn Polito was in western Massachusetts Thursday to participate in a round table discussion about climate change.

Part of that discussion focused on ways local communities can prepare of any issues they might face because of climate.

Local community leaders gathered in Holyoke to hear about grant options for assessing their futures. 

The Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program helps towns and cities assess what is vulnerable as climate changes.

"How it might impact roads and bridges critical infrastructure hospitals facilities like that. Also vulnerable populations children elderly low income residents," said Kathleen Theoharides, Assistant Secretary of Climate Change. 

Pelham is one of the first communities to receive one of these grants and it helped them spot potential infrastructure problems.

"We have flooding issues when there’s heavy rain in many of all call verts are very old so with this grant were able to do an assessment of which of the most in need of repairs," said Abbie Jenks, Pelham Planning Board Chair. 

Lt. Governor Polito stopped by to speak with municipalities about their issues. 

More than just municipalities attended, as a representative was also there from Enlace Fe Familias in Holyoke, a center that has been re-settling families displaced by the hurricanes last year. 

They want to see how these grants might be able to help them.

"I’m here to listen to see how maybe how this can be helpful for maybe not just the families here that might be impacted by climate change, but also those who end up migrating to us because of the way we have a community set up here, which is about a 50 percent Puerto Rican population," said Naiomi Robles Rodriguez with Enlace De Familias. 

In the first round of grant offerings, more than $7.5 million was awarded to communities.

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