Sydney flood victims now able to apply for disaster assistance
Published Sunday, October 16, 2016 11:45AM ADT
Last Updated Sunday, October 16, 2016 7:10PM ADT
Nova Scotians affected by last Monday’s Thanksgiving flood are now able to apply for financial assistance.
According to a news release from the province Sunday morning, residents whose homes were damaged can make direct applications to the Disaster Financial Assistance Program effective immediately.
The program is intended to help homeowners, small businesses, as well as farmers and not-for-profit organizations recover from emergencies.
Up to $200,000 per household will be covered. The news comes as many families face the loss of their homes and possessions. Many Sydney homes reek of furnace oil, with flood damaged floors, walls, and property.
“There's a no occupancy order on it, which means we're permitted to go in, but we can't live there, which, obviously, if anybody looked inside you'd know that anyway,” says Sydney resident Paul MacCormack. “$200,000 sounds like a lot of money and it is. But at the same time, you know the house and contents, et cetera, et cetera. So, we'll see. But I mean, we're grateful for any help at all, that's for sure.”
Nova Scotia’s Transportation and Infrastructure minister met with some Sydney homeowners, as he toured the hardest hit areas.
“Many of the homes aren't insured because of the insurance policies and the rules around that. People have heavy mortgages; they've lost everything that they own,” says minister Geoff MacLellan. “We have to insure that this isn't bogged down with red tape and it can't be the normal bureaucratic process that takes months. People don't have months. Their lives are in shambles at this point.”
In Sunday’s release Premier Stephen McNeil said: "We know that people are going through a very stressful time and we want to do whatever we can to ease their burden… This is another step in the rebuilding effort."
The government is asking residents to keep assessing damage to the homes, as well as take pictures and video, keep all their receipts, and work with insurance companies.
“It's talking about if you didn't get any insurance, or very little insurance, and whether your damages are going to be more than a certain amount, which definitely is going to be us,” says Sydney resident Kim Bungay.
Minister MacLellan says that for now, there's no financial limit to the program.
“We didn't set any particular cap. There's no identified funding envelope. The general range that we came up with for an estimate was about $10,000. So, we'll have the applications roll in. We'll go through the processes and we'll see where that number is.,” says MacLellan.
Details on assistance and forms are available at novascotia.ca/flooding.
Applications will also be available next week at several locations across the province, including Access Nova Scotia Centres, MLA offices, and town halls.
There is a $1,000 deductible on the application, but many residents say that's little compared to the damages they face because of the flooding.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh.