PHF lays out flood relief plan

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Portage Health Foundation Executive Director Kevin Store gives an update on flood-relief efforts Monday.

HANCOCK — More than $500,000 raised by the Portage Health Foundation (PHF) for flood relief has been spent on or earmarked for specific projects so far, Executive Director Kevin Store said during a Monday press conference on its flood relief assistance efforts.

The foundation has worked through almost all of the homes with the most severe damage — people who lost homes, or had homes condemned by the building inspector. They are now working on those mildly affected or that had only minor damage to the home or its exterior.

Six applicants had homes destroyed in the flooding.

“We had a homeowner in Hancock whose home was condemned by the building inspector because the foundation had caved in,” Store said. “That particular home was able to be stabilized and saved, and the foundation was able to be rebuilt. That homeowner moved back into their home last Tuesday.”

Another homeowner finished demolishing their flood-damaged home last week and is working on rebuilding. Two more home owners have been able to relocate.

The PHF received applications through its Flood with Love program. So far it has processed 308 of the applications.

For some homeowners, the damage was less than they had presented on their applications, Store said.

“It’s taking some time,” he said. “It’s forced us to actually do a very time-consuming site visit to all of our applicants’ residences.”

Store estimated he has done 240 hours of home assessment work since the application deadline.

“We know that this isn’t happening quick enough, especially for the people that have been affected by this, but we’re doing everything that we can to deliver on what we promised our community,” he said.

They’ve started processing payments for fixtures, such as furnaces, boilers and water heaters. Eighty-two reimbursement applications have been processed, Store said. Homeowners will receive the letters soon.

Store said the goal is to get through the remaining 179 applicants in the next couple of weeks.

“We are now scheduling for the remainder of this week and next week to get those site visits done, look at what work needs to be done, get contractors there as necessary, work with them if there’s any reimbursable expense and get those processed,” he said.