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Distribution Of Mayoral Flood Relief Fund

Distribution Of Mayoral Flood Relief Fund

Hutt City Council's Mayoral Flood Relief Fund Committee met yesterday and made decisions to distribute the entire amount available (approx $286,000) to 140 applications.

A system was agreed for this distribution, which placed highest priority on those forced from their homes and still unable to return, and who had families or other special circumstances. Lower priority was assigned to people who had suffered property damage only. Some sports and community organisations, which suffered property damage, were assisted as well as a small number of special case businesses, although the majority of business applications were declined.

Many heartbreaking stories were revealed by the applications, including a number of families with children who had lost everything except the clothes they stood up in, and others who had refused to leave their flood affected homes despite the threat of rising waters.

There was a lot of courage revealed as well, in the way in which the many people who were unable to return to their homes, and facing very large bills for damage, continued to struggle to ensure that their children and dependents were as little affected by these difficult circumstances as possible.

Grants made varied from about $100 to a standard maximum of $4,000, and the distribution meeting was held in public-excluded business to protect the privacy of individuals. The committee will be following up some cases with insurance companies and the EQC, and has allocated assistance in others from the "Task Force Green" clean-up crews.

The task of processing the applications has been a huge one for Council staff and volunteers, with most applicants being interviewed at least once. It remains to thank the people who gave money, including anonymous donators to the Holmes Show, from the corporate donors including Farmers Trading Company and Higgins Contractors to the Government, and the hundreds of individual donors including schools such as Naenae and Tawa Colleges.

Council also extends thanks to those who served on the committee, including my colleagues, Crs Glenda Barratt and Scott Dalziell and community representatives Captain John Wordsworth from the Salvation Army and John Cole from Hutt Rotary Club.

Council plans to hold a 'thank you' function for all those volunteers who have helped in the course of the flood repair and recovery exercise, and to give to each of those involved a small gift in recognition of their community service.

Letters advising of grants will be sent to applicants in the next few days. Applicants who do not receive letters within ten days should contact Chris DuFall on 570 6666.

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