Last Saturday’s blizzard was just further proof that it can be difficult for the city’s senior citizens to dig out after a heavy snowstorm.
Recently, the City Council gave its support to a plan proposed by Ward 6 Councillor Richard Serino that could help some of Revere’s most vulnerable residents. The council approved Serino’s motion to have Mayor Brian Arrigo look into the City of Revere hiring unemployed veterans to shovel out elderly veterans and retired first responders following storms.
“This stems from a resident on Sigourney Street who is an 86-year-old retired Revere police officer,” said Serino. “He calls me once every winter at our first snowfall. He and his wife live in their house, and they don’t have family nearby and they can’t afford to have their house shoveled.”
Serino did point to the good work done by Revere High School’s JROTC Snow Angel program, but he said there is a backlog to take part in the program and his constituents on Sigourney Street have been on the waiting list for several years. A program separate from the Snow Angel program could provide some relief for older veterans and retired first responders and put some money in the pockets of younger unemployed veterans, Serino said. “I think it would be a win-win; we would be putting community veterans who are in need of employment to work, and we would be taking care of residents who need their homes shoveled out,” said Serino. “I think that could help to reduce the backlog on the Snow Angel program wait list, and I’m sure there are veterans and first responders on the list.”
Funding from the American Rescue Plan Act could potentially be used to pay for the program, Serino said. “Obviously, we can iron out the details and make sure only folks who are truly in need of such a program would be able to utilize it,” said Serino.
Councillor-at-Large Steven Morabito said the city could look into extending the public works department’s summer program and have younger people shovel snow during the winter.
Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky successfully lobbied to add the shoveling of city sidewalks near public properties and parks to Serino’s motion.
Revere Disabilities Committee Chair Ralph DeCicco cautioned that the shoveling program could be more involved than it looks at first glance, and suggested the city look at how Somerville does its winter shoveling program before moving forward. “There’s a lot more involved than just clearing snow and ice – it’s a big undertaking,” said DeCicco.
City Council President Gerry Visconti said he supports Serino’s motion and Novoselsky’s amendment and said Arrigo and the administration could fine-tune the details in the coming weeks to come up with a comprehensive plan.