Most Flood Victims Not Applying For Relief Funds

The Portage Health Foundation has $3.8 million ready to help victims of the Father’s Day Flood through their Flood With Love initiative.  The problem is that they are having trouble getting people to apply for the assistance.

PHF Executive Director Kevin Store says there were nearly 700 homes affected by the flood, but so far they have received fewer than 150 applications for aid.  “I think what’s happened is some people think this is an income-based application. We’ve had feedback that some people think that it is a loan and we also know that there is just a lot of people out there that just aren’t willing to ask for help. I don’t want to say that it’s just a pride issue, but in some cases it’s just a pride issue and they’re not asking for help,” Store said.

A meeting was held Thursday in Lake Linden so the public can learn more about the program and get their questions answered. About 70 people attended.

The process is simple enough–fill out an application and provide the required documentation. Someone will then come out to your home and do an assessment of what repairs you need and then vetted contractors will do the work.

It does take some time to go through the steps, but Store asks that people be patient because they just want to make sure people’s donations are being distributed responsibly.

“And that’s a big thing that we have been working very closely with the Attorney General’s office on is to make sure that this money that is being expended is documented and we’re making sure that there is no fraud involved,” he said.  “So, we’re not going to circumvent that process in order to expedite something quicker than is done in a responsible way and certainly not going to do something that doesn’t allow us to provide adequate documentation and justification for it in the end.”

The Flood With Love relief initiative has four tiers of giving so anyone with as little as a couple hundred dollars of flood damage all the way up to a $100,000 can get the help they need.

Store said, “We’re on the cusp of not only getting our contractors engaged, but also releasing those funds and starting to put that money into play. Over the next few days, we’re going to start seeing some of that take place.”

It is very important that applications be received by Friday, July 27th at 3:30pm. The Portage Health Foundation stresses that late applications will not be accepted.

This funding is not income based and is not a loan that individuals would need to repay. Applications can be found at or these physical locations:
 Community Action, Houghton
 City of Houghton Office
 City of Hancock Office
 Hubbell Fire Department
 Lake Linden Village Office
 Dial Help
 Volunteer Center, Old JCPenney Store
 Campioni TruValue Hardware, Calumet
 Stanton Township Office
 Superior National Bank, Chassell Location
 Franklin Township Office
 Ripley Fire Department
 PHF Office

The PHF’s board, committee, and staff are working hard to move this initiative forward to begin working with contractors and homeowners to get their homes back to healthy, safe environments. PHF asks that the community is patient with them as they are working through this process.