Gatineau flood victims face eviction from temporary home

An Outaouais couple may be forced to leave their temporary home after the Quebec government told them they'd no longer be supported by the Red Cross, which has hosted them since the devastating 2017 floods.

Province says Chantal Therrien and Robert Macmillan will no longer get Red Cross aid

Chantal Therrien and her husband Robert Macmillan have been staying at a temporary home for more than a year after the 2017 floods damaged their residence. Quebec's Ministry of Public Safety sent the couple a letter last week saying that, as of Aug. 1, they'd no longer be supported by the Red Cross. (Radio-Canada )

An Outaouais couple may soon be forced to leave their temporary home after the Quebec government told them they'd no longer be supported by the Red Cross, which has hosted them since the devastating 2017 floods.  

Chantal Therrien and Robert Macmillan are one of seven families in the Outaouais still living in temporary homes as they wait for repairs to be completed at their own residences.

The couple's Gatineau home was severely damaged during last year's spring floods. Renovation work began in October, but it's still not completed, and there's neither water nor electricity at the home. 

"The main floor is not habitable. All winter, there was mud. We went into the house — it's dirty," Therrien told Radio-Canada in a French-language interview. "I have no water to wash, to clean."

Extension denied 

Last week, the couple received an email from Quebec's Ministry of Public Safety stating that they would no longer be supported by the Red Cross as of Aug. 1.

They requested an extension, but were denied. They said they don't have family in the area with whom they can live, and also have two large dogs. 

"We will be forced to leave. I'll have to come [to our damaged home] where I do not have water. How will I wash and clean?" Therrien said.

"I do not know what to do. I am physically, mentally exhausted."

Robert Macmillan and Chantal Therrien's home was hit hard by the 2017 floods. (Radio-Canada)

In an email to Radio-Canada, Quebec's public safety department wrote that every case is different and that Red Cross assistance can be extended in specific cases — but only if the residents were not responsible for the delay. 

The couple reported having problems with the first contractor they hired to repair the home, which could explain the fact it remains uninhabitable.

City pressures Quebec

The City of Gatineau told Radio-Canada that it's aware that there are still people in need of help.

"In my opinion, all support and disaster relief is the responsibility of the [provincial] government. Our role is to put pressure on the government to help these families,"  said Louise Boudrias, Gatineau's deputy mayor.

Macmillan and Therrien said they've also written to both their local MP, Alexandre Iracà, and the provincial minister responsible for the Outaouais region, Stéphanie Vallée, asking for help.

The family says they are asking for nothing more than a month of additional assistance.

"Today, I'm still waiting for news, I'm a week away from being thrown out," Therrien said. 

With files from Florence Ngué-No