The Portage Health Foundation intends to flood the Keweenaw with money to help victims of the recent storm.
Roughly $3.8 million will be distributed as part of their Flood With Love program, with funds collected through their Houghton County Flood Relief Fund and a direct investment from the foundation. Over $200,000 has been received from private and corporate donors to the Flood Relief Fund so far.
Executive Director Kevin Store says the foundation is already putting that money to work. “We have pledged 100 percent, every penny that has been and will be donated, to be used for this relief effort. In fact, a considerable amount of money has already been redirected to the cleanup and relief effort,” said Store.
As part of the program, the Portage Health Foundation is contributing $50,000 to Dial Help to assist in their effort to care for the mental health of impacted residents.
Over 600 homes were impacted by the storm with eight houses considered a complete loss. The foundation will help residents with home and site restoration.
They will also work with UP Home Builders Associations and other trade associations to vet contractors and ensure money is going to where it is most needed and to protect residents from being scammed.
Store said, “It is unfortunate, but we are already seeing incidents with people’s desperation being taken advantage and our process is one that provides vetting of contractors, transparency of work to be done, documented payment and processing, and even some cost controls that will mitigate price gouging.”
The foundation will also assess damage to recreational assets that contribute to the overall quality of life in the community.
Store says there will be transparency at every step so people know the money is being distributed responsibly. “We want to make sure that we get everybody back in a safe home as quickly as we can and through that process, we believe that we can have documented transparency and accountability, and that’s what we shared with the Attorney General’s office as well,” he said.
Action plans and the application process still need to be finalized. The goal is to have these ready by the middle of next week. Additional notifications will be made to the public throughout the process.