Looking for homeowners who could use a helping handFor some people in northern Minnesota, last summer’s flood isn’t a distant memory. It’s something they live with every day, as they continue to struggle to get their homes and their lives back to a pre-flood state. If that description fits you or someone you know, help is just a phone call — or a drive to Moose Lake — away.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
For some people in northern Minnesota, last summer’s flood isn’t a distant memory. It’s something they live with every day, as they continue to struggle to get their homes and their lives back to a pre-flood state.
If that description fits you or someone you know, help is just a phone call — or a drive to Moose Lake — away.
“We know there are a lot of folks still in the starting or middle states of reconstruction, but we’re not hearing from those folks,” said Dean Minardi, regional reconstruction manager for Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota.
That’s a problem.
“We’re at a point where we might have to turn down some pretty big volunteer groups that want to come in,” he said, adding that LSS case managers can help homeowners connect with both volunteers and paid-for building materials. “These are groups that have semi-to-professional skill sets in construction.
“The thing we’re lacking now is homeowners.”
He’s hoping at least some of those homeowners will attend a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 13, at Hope Lutheran Church, 204 Elm Ave., Moose Lake. Minardi said he will give a basic overview of what’s still available for people affected by the flood; he also will have LSS flood case managers at the meeting available to work with flood victims.
Anyone who sustained damage from the flooding last June — in Carlton, Pine, Aitkin, St. Louis, Douglas and Lake counties — is encouraged to attend Monday’s meeting. Even though the deadlines for state and federal aid have passed, Minardi wants people to know that help is still available.
Moose Lake Flood Recovery Coordinator Tom Paull calls it “Phase 2 of flood relief.”
“We have funds for materials and Lutheran Social Services has an opportunity to bring in skilled volunteers,” he said. “We’re hoping people will come, get the word out.”
Since the flood, Lutheran Social Services has assisted about 600 homeowners — 400 of those cases are still active. He’s certain there are others out there who could benefit greatly from a helping hand.
“We’ve joined forces with volunteers and different pockets of regional money to help with rebuilding,” he said. “We just need to sit down with people and figure out what we can bring to the table in terms of needed repairs.”
Sometimes it’s pride that stops folks from asking for help. Other times it’s the assumption that somehow they don’t qualify or that it’s not worth the effort.
“To reach out and say ‘I need something’ is difficult for some people,” Minardi said, noting that everything is confidential — even the requests for building materials are not associated with the homeowner’s name. “I also hear people say ‘My neighbor has it worse; I’m fine.’ That’s very typical. We can help those people. We can help their neighbors, too.”