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'Struggling and fearful': Some Maritimers still waiting for answers about Fiona financial assistance


Bob Boutilier from Glace Bay, N.S., is still waiting for financial assistance to fix damage done to his home by post-tropical storm Fiona more than two months ago.

“The roof completely has to be replaced. New shingles, plywood, I need a new roof,” he said.

The 76-year-old doesn't have insurance and lives on a fixed income. The repairs are beyond his means and he's not alone.

“There's been quite a bit of communication coming through my office and through the communication lines of my council colleagues,” said Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Amanda McDougall.

McDougall says a lot of residents are still trying to access disaster relief assistance.

She's not surprised the process has taken a while, but says it needs to speed up.

“People are really struggling and fearful. They're fearful for the change of season, for the cold to set in, for more storms to come, and the inability to get all of the repairs done and support that is necessary,” said McDougall.

The Canadian Red Cross stopped accepting new registrations for Fiona assistance as of 5 p.m. Friday, which they say will allow their team to devote its full attention to finalizing existing registrations.

“We have, to date, distributed more than $51 million to about 92,000 households,” said Dan Bedell, a spokesperson for the Canadian Red Cross.

Major repairs to homes are not part of that funding.

“We're not providing funds for the rebuilding of homes and things like that. Those are government programs,” said Bedell.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency announced a $300 million fund for communities and businesses in the region, but Boutilier is not sure whether he qualifies for any of it.

“I just don't understand why the bureaucracy takes forever. It's in plain sight for people to see the damage and what has to be done,” he said. Top Stories

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