Conklin secures emergency grant for sinkhole victims

Proposes legislation to provide relief to future victims

PATTON TOWNSHIP, March 20 – In an effort to provide relief and assistance to the victims of a sinkhole that opened up in a townhome complex on Christmas, state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, today joined Patton Township sinkhole victims and local officials to announce that he has secured a $180,000 grant from the state.

Specifically, Conklin said that the grant will help cover the costs of engineering, inspections, renovations and shelter for the affected residents and their homes. 

“This is a devastating situation for these families who have lost their homes and belongings due to this disaster,” Conklin said. “They need our support and compassion during this difficult time. That is why I worked with the Shapiro administration to secure this grant, to ease their financial burden and help them restore their homes as soon as possible.” 

Conklin also announced that he will introduce legislation to provide future disaster-impacted families with up to 90 days of relief by allowing hotels and motels a state tax credit equal to the discounted or comped cost of a room donated to a Pennsylvania family displaced by a disaster. 

“Families displaced by sinkholes, floods, fires and other disasters are an unfortunately too common and tragic occurrence in Pennsylvania,” Conklin said. “Last year alone, 3.3 million Americans were displaced by natural disasters nationwide. When you factor in sewer sinkholes, burst pipes and other ‘unnatural’ disasters, that number is much higher.

“Families often have limited options when it comes to emergency housing or funding relief in the days immediately following a disaster, especially if that disaster is ‘too small’ to trigger eligibility for federal disaster assistance,” Conklin said. “Our commonwealth needs to do more to provide support for disaster victims who would otherwise slip through the cracks between existing relief programs.”