Temporary Relocation Support Set to End in East Palestine

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio – Village residents who relocated after the Feb. 3 train derailment and remained out of their homes during excavation efforts have been given a deadline about other arrangements.

Norfolk Southern announced Tuesday that with the major excavation and soil removal activities completed at the end of October, the temporary relocation assistance for residents will conclude Feb. 9, 2024.

Will Harden, senior director of legal claims at Norfolk Southern, said the Family Assistance Center on East Rebecca Street will reach out to those residents so they know what benefits and support will remain and the options that are available to them. Those who have not had their homes cleaned by Norfolk Southern or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are eligible for an indoor home cleaning program by calling or visiting the Family Assistance Center.

“We’re directly helping those families with their plans to return home, understanding everyone’s situation is unique,” Harden said.

The Family Assistance Center has had 11,540 visits by local families through November, and Norfolk Southern has provided more than $20.7 million in direct financial assistance to families.

Overall, Norfolk has committed more than $103 million to East Palestine and the surrounding areas in both Ohio and Pennsylvania, including $25 million to fund the regional safety training center for first responders; $5 million to cover the cost of agencies and fire departments in Pennsylvania; $3 million to reimburse the East Palestine Fire Department for equipment and vehicles; $25 million to upgrade and renovate East Palestine City Park; $4.2 million to support local events and grants for nonprofits in Pennsylvania communities; and $4.3 million for the long-term protection of East Palestine’s drinking water.

The Family Assistance Center is located at 191 E. Rebecca St. and is open from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekdays, except Wednesday, when it is open from noon to 8 p.m. Residents can call the center at 800 230 7049 during operating hours. The center will close at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 21 and will reopen at noon Jan. 2.

Pictured at top: The Family Assistance Center in East Palestine.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.