Flooded Windsor homeowners now eligible for provincial disaster relief

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs confirmed homeowners in all municipalities doused by a record-breaking rainfall on August 29 will be able to apply to Ontario's Disaster Relief Assistance Program.

More than 5,000 basements were flooded in Windsor-Essex

More than 5,000 basements were flooded in Windsor-Essex last week. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

Homeowners in Windsor and Essex County have been deemed eligible to apply for provincial disaster relief following the flooding that hit more than 5,000 area homes last week. 

"Affected individuals, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations that have experienced property damage or loss as a result of this disaster may be eligible to receive help with emergency and recovery expenses," said the Ministry of Municipal Affairs Thursday.

The announcement comes after officials from the ministry visited the area earlier this week to investigate flood damage and encountered frustrated homeowners and block after block of front lawns stacked with mountains of flood-damaged furniture, carpet and personal items.

Homeowners in Windsor, LaSalle, Essex, Tecumseh, Amherstburg and Lakeshore are eligible to apply for assistance under the program but there are no guarantees they will receive financial aid.

Officials with the province's Disaster Relief team were in Windsor on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017 to assess flood damage from last week's storms. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

The program provides "partial financial assistance to return essential property to its basic function," according to the ministry's website, but  flooding caused by "sewer backup is not generally eligible under the program" though "there is a special provision to provide assistance to low-income households."

Last week's flooding marks the second time in less than a year thousands of homes in Windsor-Essex were overwhelmed by water.

The province agreed last September that flood-ravaged city residents qualified for Disaster Relief Assistance but scores were left high and dry. Of 583 homeowners who asked for help, only 122 received any money. Another 235 claims were denied and another 226 remained bogged down in the system. It is unclear how many will be approved or when.

The limitations of the disaster relief program led three area mayors to call on Premier Kathleen Wynne to create a provincially supported insurance program for residents who can no longer get flood insurance, but a spokesperson for the ministry said there are currently no plans to change the program.