Cape Breton residents eligible for flood damage financial assistance but whose claims are still tied up with the province will see a 50 per cent advance coming their way likely within two weeks, says the municipal affairs minister.

Zach Churchill said the decision to expedite the process was made to ensure people don't get caught up in bureaucracy.

"This is a complex situation. It involves environmental and oil assessments, as well as working with insurance companies," he said in a statement. "We said from the beginning we did not want impacted residents to be caught up in process."

To date, he said the Emergency Management Office has received about 650 applications for disaster financial assistance. A spokeswoman with Municipal Affairs did not know Friday how many of those have been completed and how many are outstanding.

The maximum amount that can be claimed is $200,000.

'Sitting in limbo'

However, the interim payment doesn't apply to 17 homes homes deemed uninhabitable within a flood zone in Sydney. Churchill said those people will be contacted soon for an update.

That doesn't sit well with one of those homeowners.

"We've heard, 'You'll hear something next week' about three or four times," said Kim Bungay.

She said she's concerned by what the province will say to the homeowners because they've heard different things before.

"We're frustrated because we're sitting in limbo and we don't know what to do with what we have and what we don't have," said Bungay.

With her home unlivable, she's renting a duplex.

'Directive was right thing to do'

The decision to offer advances for many claims deviates from what is typically done under the disaster financial assistance program.

"The DFA program does not typically unfold in this way, but we also wanted to work quickly to address the immediate needs of homeowners," said Churchill. 

"Issuing the directive was the right thing to do to ensure we continue to help impacted residents through this difficult time."

With files from Gary Mansfield