Summer floods drive winter needCold weather has brought on a renewed rush for help from flood victims in the Superior and Duluth area.
By: By Mike Simonson/Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Cold weather has brought on a renewed rush for help from flood victims in the Superior and Duluth area.
People are turning on their furnaces for the first time since the June 19-20 flood, and finding out they don’t work. Barb Certa-Werner at Superior Harbor House shelter says the needs are more than they can handle.
“Just this morning we had three cases that we allocated some funds for,” she said. “They lost all their winter clothing, their winter boots. They lost all that in the flood. They lost their water heater, their boiler.”
Certa-Werner says they’ve had to turn people away from their homeless shelter.
Because of the oncoming winter, Harbor House and other nonprofits are pushed beyond capacity to help flood victims.
Federal and state help continues to flow into the region, but Holly Sampson with the Duluth-Superior Community Foundation says that takes time and people need help now. She says other communities hit by floods and natural disasters have immediate needs, but the long-term fix can take two years. That’s what they’re seeing too.
“This is a longer recovery then we originally envisioned, Sampson said.”
The Community Foundation got a big boost this week when the Margaret Cargill Foundation awarded them $500,000 to help non-profit groups with this flood recovery.
Certa-Werner says the timing is perfect: “That is almost an understatement. We’ve never been so busy. Our food pantry here at the church almost double what we have been serving. Our homeless shelter was hit by the flood and our homeless shelters have been at capacity.”
While Douglas County has tallied about $25 million in flood damage, northeastern Minnesota figures could exceed $200 million.