Disaster relief fund donations reach the $120,000 level. Committee to manage the distribution of those funds still being put together. Why is it taking so long?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 20, 2014

This is not going to be easy. The people who are going to have to manage the distribution of flood relief funds have a mammoth task on their hands and it is vital for them to ensure that what they do is totally transparent even though they are dealing with some very personal information about the people who have lost so much due to the flood.

The immediate good news is that the public fund raising is coming along. The amount donated as of 5:00 pm on Tuesday was $120,000. $10,000 of that came from CUPE Local 44.

FLOOD basement blur couch

The damage for hundreds of homes is extensive. The fear is that some families may not be able to recover from the flood. Local fund raising is vital.

The Burlington United Way is serving as the main collection point – they will hold the funds and accept donations through their secure website. Once the Disaster Relief fund is established – and the province requires that this committee be created, they will set out the policies and procedures that will determine what is available for distribution and who gets funds.

There will be situations where the damage to a house was severe but the occupants were fully insured – would they get any funding? Take a neighbour two doors down who was also badly flooded and they also had insurance coverage but the deductible was very high – would they get funding. And then the household that had insurance but the insurance company decided there would be no payout – what would that household get.

Add to that the concern many people will have about the personal details of their finances being trotted out for the whole world to read about.

Colleen Mulholland, president of the Burlington Community Foundation, an organization that donated $15,000 to the Disaster Relief Fund, lives in a house that was badly flooded. Many will ask – isn’t there a conflict of interest here? Mulholland doesn’t see it that way. She is totally focused on pulling together the committees that will do their very best to help the people in Burlington take care of each other.

She is currently working at creating the various committees that will be needed to get the financial help out to people. At this point the thinking is to create three levels within the Disaster Relief committee; one will focus on the corporate sector seeking additional funding.


It was a nicer evening and a better time for Colleen Mulholland when she posed with the BCF Masquerade Ball Honorary Chair Angelo Paletta

For every dollar that is donated the province can match that on a two for one basis. While no one is certain yet as to exactly what the need is – the sense is that the community is going to have to come up with more than $1 million which would bring in $2 million from the province for a total of $3 million. Will that be enough?

A second committee will focus on working with the numerous agencies that are going to be involved in a task that Mulholland believes will become the legacy of the BCF. Not sure if this is the time to be talking about legacies but she makes a point. The Burlington Community Foundation is going to be the group that pulls this thing together so that the needs of the people that need help are met.

A third committee will focus on the “grass roots” which hopefully turns out to be people from those pockets in the community that were hit so very hard.

A concern that has been raised is the number of people involved – while it is vital that this be a community effort – with 22 different agencies at the table it could become the equivalent of trying to herd cats.

While working on a story with the Samaritan’s Purse we wanted to take a close look at the work they were doing helping people who need help. “Let me see how the house we are working at now feels about pictures being taken” said our contact. ”These people are feeling very emotional right now and their dignity has to be maintained.”
There is a delicate balance to be maintained and a mammoth task to complete.

The announcements from Mulholland as to the makeup of the committees should be available sometime this week.



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