Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

Still no heat for some flood victims


Some people still have no heat, it was reported by a case manager to the Long Term Recovery Committee at a meeting on Wednesday, November 14, in Cloquet.

“I met with some people in Pine County this morning, and they have no heat,” said Kristi Skelton-Weisert, a case manager for southern Carlton County and northern Pine County. “We are trying to secure funding for them for furnaces. Some were approved today.”

The case managers have been hired by Lutheran Social Services and have been working with the flood victims to find funding for restoring homes and purchasing needed appliances, such as furnaces.

Drew Digby, Carlton County’s Special Projects and Long Term Recovery Manager, announced that Andy Hartman has been hired as an additional case manager and will be reaching out to people and informing them of the case manager services.

Dennis Genereau, the Carlton County Coordinator, said that a temporary worker for the county went through all of the information provided by the assessor’s office and will be listing the information on a spreadsheet. The temporary worker will be working closely with the Global Information Systems specialist to help with the addresses. GIS is a digital mapping system that was used to identify the parcels that had received flood damage.

Digby said that people will be visiting the addresses and leaving information about the Flood Homes with Hope Program.

Tim Homstad, who had been assigned as a case manager for agricultural needs, said that he worked with five cases in Aitkin County and two in Carlton County. One in St. Louis County was transferred to a residential case manager after it was found that the person had rabbits and chickens.

Homstad announced that he will now be available to help the other case managers.

There was discussion about increasing the $1,000 maximum grant per household to up to $5,000 for homes that need reconstruction. That amount could be used to fill in if the homeowner needed just a little bit more, said Digby. The client would be required to have applied for a Small Business Administration loan.

A motion was passed for a representative from the Carlton County group to go to the regional group with the recommendation that the amount for reconstruction be raised to $5,000.

Digby said that there are two big obstacles that prevent people from asking for help: fear that the county will condemn the house, and mental health issues.

Genereau said that the county can’t condemn homes in the county; the liability is too great.

He added that if the home is unsafe for children, many of the county employees and case managers are required to report the conditions to social services.

Digby reported that a grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation will probably provide $250,000 in funding designated for the entire flood area.

Skelton-Weisert announced that there will be a holiday open house at Hope Lutheran Church on Sunday, November 25, from 4-6 p.m. for people that have been affected by the flood in Pine and Carlton counties.

The next meeting is set for Wednesday, November 28, at Zion Lutheran Church in Cloquet. A summary of the disbursements to date will be provided.


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