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United Way of Carlton County announces major gift for flood relief

The United Way of Carlton County has given an additional $20,000 to the Regional Flood Fund, administered jointly by the United Ways in the region to help rebuild homes in the area damaged by last June's flooding.

At the same time, the United Way made a challenge to local businesses and other civic groups to match the gift to keep reconstruction efforts moving.

"With just $100,000 more, we can make sure that 100 more homes are repaired and rebuilt this summer with a combination of volunteer labor, state and federal loans, and other resources," said Dorine Houck, executive director of the United Way of Carlton County, which is working in partnership with the Carlton County Long Term Recovery Committee and disaster case managers from Lutheran Social Services. "We've seen so far that with just a few thousand dollars per house, amazing work can be done, but the scope of last summer's damage is just enormous."

Just within Carlton County, 1,045 homes had reportable damage, with 178 homes losing more than 50 percent of their value.

"If 20 businesses could each donate $5,000, we'd reach our goal," Houck said.

Each dollar that is donated to the Regional Flood Fund is matched by a special fund -- administered by the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation -- up to a total of $250,000.

Already, the Regional Flood Fund has distributed more than $760,000 to more than 380 families. The Carlton County share of that fund has been $432,316.60 to 199 families through the Carlton County Long Term Recovery Committee.

The Long Term Recovery Committee projects it needs $340,000 to carry the work through the current construction season, but matching funds and amounts that it already has committed means it needs to raise slightly more than $100,000.