Resources exhausted? Long-term flood recovery fund offers reliefA long-term recovery fund will be created to help people who suffered property damages in June’s flooding, United Way and governmental officials announced Monday.
By: Steve Kuchera, Duluth News Tribune
A long-term recovery fund will be created to help people who suffered property damages in June’s flooding, United Way and governmental officials announced Monday.
The Twin Ports Region Flood Relief Fund will help meet the needs of area residents whose sources of money from insurance, the government and personal finances can’t cover the cost of repairing or rebuilding their homes.
That includes Lincoln Park residents Larry and LuAnn Olson.
The Olsons’ home of 30 years, the site of Monday’s news conference, was severely damaged after a nearby creek overflowed its banks. The diverted floodwaters rushed downhill and into and around the couple’s house, which is located on the lower side of the 1100 block of West Second Street.
“It flooded the whole street,” LuAnn Olson said. “It was coming down the steps like a waterfall. We couldn’t even step out because we would have been washed away.”
The flood shoved the house partly off its foundation, buckled one of the basement walls and undercut their sidewalk, dropped debris around the building and left several feet of water in the basement, destroying appliances and leaving mud behind.
The Olsons live on fixed disability income.
The various United Ways in the region came together to form the flood relief fund in response to needs like the Olsons’, said Paula Reed, president of the United Way of Greater Duluth. The money will be managed and administered by a regional committee, with assistance available to people hurt by flooding in Northwestern Wisconsin and Northeastern Minnesota.
Because the fund is designed to help people after all other sources of assistance are exhausted, financial assistance will not be awarded until late August — 60 days after the flooding.
Local governments can expect to receive federal and state aid to help rebuild streets, highways and storm and wastewater sewers.
“It’s people like LuAnn (Olson) … where our focus needs to be,” Duluth Mayor Don Ness said. “I’m confident that our community will rally.”
Ness challenged the region to raise $1 million this month to help residents with flood recovery.
The fund already has received more than $65,000 in donations from several corporations and individuals.