As winter approaches, Rigaud ramps up temporary housing for flood victims
City urges landlords renting apartments or houses to contact them
With winter approaching, one of the municipalities hardest hit by historic spring flooding is taking steps to ensure no one is left out in the cold.
Rigaud, west of Montreal, has a series of measures planned to help its residents, but still has yet to hear from about 100 flood victims in the area.
"With winter coming, we hope that these people aren't in need, but if they are we want to be prepared to help them," said spokesperson Marie-Andrée Gagnon.
Rising floodwaters in April and May forced thousands of Quebecers from their homes. In Rigaud, nearly 300 properties were flooded, and some of those families are still not able to return home.
As part of the measures, Rigaud will have representatives from local health and social services on site that flood victims can meet with by appointment or by simply showing up at the temporary office.
Firefighters will also be knocking on doors to visit residents who have returned to homes affected by flooding. They are tasked with checking if homes are secure and if the conditions are livable.
The Salvation Army is also helping the city find temporary housing accommodations for those who still cannot go back home.
"We've found about 15 homes in Rigaud alone," said Brigitte Saint-Germain, a spokesperson for the Salvation Army's Quebec division. "Now we have to expand our searches in the MRC of Vaudreuil-Soulanges to meet the demand."
While Rigaud has been successful in assisting some flood victims in finding temporary housing, the city is hoping those in need will reach out before the cold weather sets in.
"People want a semblance of balance, a semblance of a normal life," said Gagnon. "So that's why we came up with the idea to try and find them local housing so that they have a kitchen, a living room."
Some residents were unhappy with the town's response to the flooding, accusing the municipality and the province of passing the buck.
Rigaud is urging flood victims and anyone in the area renting apartments or houses to contact them at 450-451-0869, extension 263.
With files from Radio-Canada