Relief work discussed by Foundation

LAKE LINDEN — Initial estimates show about 617 homes were affected by the June 17 floods, said Kevin Store, director of the Portage Health Foundation.

As of Thursday, only 147 applications had been submitted for aid through the Portage Health Foundation’s Flood with Love program.

“That old Finlander pride, that old Copper Country Strong is a strong trait, but it also works against us when we need it,” Store said. “We don’t know who needs help unless they contact us.”

The foundation held a community meeting Thursday in Lake Linden to discuss the program with residents. Store said the foundation has pledged about $3.8 million in flood aid, about $3.2 million of which is earmarked for homes.

Contractors who want to be approved for work on projects funded by the foundation should contact the UP Builders Association, which will vet the contractors to make sure they are licensed and insured. That will also allow the foundation to establish competitive contract rates.

“For the contractors that have decided to participate, their rates are going to be competitive and reasonable,” Store said. “Hopefully that’s going to result in more jobs being created, and we’ll actually put some people to work.”

This week, the PHF began processing the first rounds of applications. They’ve demonstrated a wide range of needs, Store said. People affected by the flood are encouraged to apply regardless of how serious they think their level of damage was.

Some damage only became evident later. Store said when contractors come to the home, they will note any additional damage not on the original application.

Among those applying for funds is Mary Dutemple, who suffered extensive damage to her home in Bootjack.

“I loved it,” she said of Thursday’s presentation. “It was educational, it was to the point. It was good.”

To apply, go to phfgive.org, or visit these offices: Community Action (Houghton); City of Houghton; City of Hancock; Hubbell Fire Department; Lake Linden Village; Dial Help; Volunteer Resource Center (former JCPenney store at Copper Country Mall); Campioni Truvalue Hardware, Calumet; Stanton Township Office; Superior National Bank (Chassell); Franklin Township; Ripley Fire Department; and the Portage Health Foundation.

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