MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont is on schedule to close most residents' Tropical Storm Irene-related government aid cases by late summer, meaning they will have safe housing by the second anniversary of flooding that damaged more than 7,000 homes, according to a report released Monday by Gov. Peter Shumlin.
Hundreds of Vermont families and hard-hit communities are still struggling with the consequences of the damage, former Irene Recovery Officer Dave Rapaport said.
"Fortunately many dedicated local, state, federal and private partners continue to make great strides toward completing the recovery," he said.
The status report, the third of its kind, provides an update on recovery efforts and goals for continuing work since the storm hit in late August 2011.
Among the progress over the last nine months:
— 90 properties have received Federal Emergency Management Agency approval for buyouts for a total of $17.1 million in federal funding;
— the state broke ground in January on a 25-bed psychiatric hospital in Berlin to replace the Waterbury State Hospital, which had to be closed due to flooding;
— the Agency of Natural Resources has worked closely with the Vermont Transportation Agency on a draft permit for stream alteration with new rules expected to be adopted in the coming months, Rapaport said.
The report said 394 cases in the disaster care management program have been closed and 277 cases continue to receive services with six months remaining on the $2.4 million grant from FEMA to support individuals and families affected by the storm. New cases continue to be referred to the program, with nine opened in the past month, the report said.
The goals for ongoing recovery include closing 90 percent of the remaining cases; resolving how much of the rebuilding of the state office complex in Waterbury that FEMA will cover; and reducing by half the projected $15 million funding gap between costs and FEMA reimbursement for the repair of damaged municipal infrastructure, the report said.
Construction on the Waterbury State Office Complex is expected to be underway by this summer and be completed in 2015, the report said.