Red Cross distributes millions in flood aid as hundreds remain homeless
Published Saturday, June 17, 2017 2:47PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, June 17, 2017 7:05PM EDT
A month after floods damaged 5,200 homes across Quebec, hundreds of families are still living in hotels, waiting for their homes to be repaired.
Lisette Fontaine is among those whose homes were heavily damaged by the water. Her basement is a total loss, with floors and walls that will need to be torn out and rebuilt.
“It’s hard, because we have to redo everything,” she said.
Fontaine and hundreds of others have been struggling with mountains of paperwork necessary to get reimbursed for damages.
Of those forced from their homes, 350 are still unable to return.
For those whose insurance doesn’t cover the damage and who aren’t eligible for government aid, the Red Cross has been helping out. Almost $8 million was donated to the organization to assist in flood relief, $2 million of which has already been distributed.
Red Cross Quebec director Pascal Mathieu said all the money collected is going to flood victims. Currently, it’s being handed out in $600 increments.
“If your house has been flooded, you’ll be swarmed with expenses. $600 is just a little bit of help right now,” he said. “We’re trying to help cover the crack in the system, so the money we will be giving will be paying stuff we know won’t be paid for by the government or insurance.”
To be eligible for the money, victims must register with the Red Cross, have their identification validated and prove they lived in a flood zone.
Fontaine said she has applied for the $600, saying every little bit helps in her current predicament.
“It gives us moral support, too,” she said.
The $600 handouts are just a start. While numbers have yet to be finalized, Mathieu said as it currently stands, $3,200 will be given to homeowners whose homes have been destroyed or suffered major damage while $1,000 will be given to tenants whose rented homes were damaged.
Extra help will be given to those with additional needs.
“People with very low income, elderly people with low incomes, families with lots of dependents,” he said. “We’ve also planned a little bit of extra help for the self-employed that work at home.”