The provincial government has announced a Disaster Financial Assistance program for homes, businesses and communities affected by flooding since April 15.
“It is important for government to step up quickly and efficiently to help families and businesses get their lives back to normal when a flood or other natural disaster hits,” said Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Bruce Northrup. “This program will allow hundreds of New Brunswickers, and the communities they live in, to get back on their feet by helping to pay for uninsurable damages and losses that threaten health and safety.”
Northrup also announced that the maximum assistance for structural repairs to private residences will be set at $120,000, compared to the previous maximum of $80,000. A maximum allowable amount of $500,000 has been established for damage to small businesses and not-for-profit organizations.
“These maximum amounts follow a thorough review of the province's Disaster Financial Assistance policy and will ensure the program remains effective for those who need assistance,” he said.
The province will offer a buy-out of up to $120,000 in cases where structural damages exceed 80 per cent of the appraised value of the property.
Since April 15, flood damage has been reported for about 540 homes and businesses around the province. The large majority of flood-damaged homes and businesses occurred April 16 in and around Sussex and Sussex Corner.
There has also been significant damage to roads, bridges and other public infrastructure. In total, damage to homes, businesses and public infrastructure is estimated at about $12 million dollars.
Provincial health and safety inspectors have already visited most properties where damage was reported. Each team is comprised of members specialized in electrical, structural, environmental, health and fire issues who advise what work is needed to make homes and businesses safe.
Northrup said anyone who has experienced flood damage but has not yet reported it should do so immediately by calling Service New Brunswick at 1-888-298-8555 to register for possible disaster financial assistance. Once registered, residents will be provided with an information package and any required paperwork to initiate a claim.
“Registering is the first step in the recovery process and will ensure home and business owners can gain access to complementary assistance, including water testing, electrical re-connections and any necessary electrical permits, as well as health and safety inspections to assess damage and determine what repairs are required for residents to safely return to their homes,” Northrup said.
Once approved for assistance, advance payments of up to $4,000 will be available. The deductible amounts will be $1,000 for individual homeowners and $5,000 for small businesses. The deductible is automatically waived for social services clients. Requests for waiver may also be considered from those who are experiencing severe financial hardship.
“While this has been a difficult time for those affected, we are grateful that there have been no injuries or fatalities,” he said. “I commend all local authorities, first responders, volunteer organizations and the entire government team for working quickly to get people to safety and to get them back in their homes and businesses as soon as possible.”
The Service New Brunswick call centre to report flood damage and obtain application forms will operate Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Residents may also apply online.
The provincial government will soon open offices in areas of the province hit by flooding. The offices will be staffed by provincial disaster assistance personnel who can help residents fill out the necessary paperwork to apply for funding. Further information will soon be made available on the location, contact numbers and hours of operation of the offices.
Information on the Disaster Financial Assistance program and flood recovery is available online.