At least 120 people remain homeless after spring floods, says Red Cross
2,524 New Brunswickers have registered with the organization
More than two months after record-high floodwaters put many New Brunswickers out of their homes, at least 120 people are still unable to return, the Red Cross says.
"These are folks whose home has had severe or potentially total damage," said Bill Lawlor, the provincial director of the Red Cross.
Lawlor said the number on the agency's list who are in need of help with housing is now declining, but it fluctuated for a while, and at one point was down to about 70.
Some residents didn't require emergency accommodations during the flood or immediately after, but their needs changed when the severe damage continued to make their homes unlivable.
"They did not require emergency shelter in the very beginning," Lawlor said. "They were able to find alternate accommodations with family, or loved ones or neighbours.
"After several weeks it became not sustainable to stay there."
Government applications close
The government's deadline for registering damage, as a step toward getting financial assistance, was last Friday, but applications for assistance from the Red Cross are still being taken.
Lawlor said 1,136 households, representing 2,524 residents, have registered with the Red Cross, although not all were seeking help. The agency had asked people affected by the flood to register regardless.
The agency has provided $300 in emergency help to many flood victims and assisted with arrangements for temporary housing. It will also be able to augment the assistance people need for rebuilding.
"Certainly, one of the largest registration of individuals we've had in our time in the Red Cross over a number of years," said Lawlor.
Lawlor said not all of those who registered are eligible for assistance, and some of them have already indicated they don't need any.
Neighbours open wallets
Luckily for residents who were affected by flooding, their fellow New Brunswickers and residents in neighbouring provinces have been generous.
Red Cross's outreach program has already received $1.16 million in donations, the largest amount the organization has ever raised to help with a disaster within the province.
"We're tremendously grateful to those who've contributed to that and we're continuing to channel that out to those families who've been the most impacted," said Lawlor.
Lawlor said it's too early to say if the amount will be enough.
"We don't know that final number yet because in some cases homeowners themselves don't know."
Lawlor said he expects the relief effort to continue for several more months.
"We're certainly looking into the fall before everybody would be out," said Lawlor.
The deadline to apply for Red Cross assistance is July 13, but Lawlor said exceptions may be made in extreme cases.
With files from Information Morning Fredericton