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Help still needed for flood recovery

Thanks to a matching grant, the committee charged with long-term flood recovery is hoping one last push for financial donations will be enough to cover the families that are still recovering from last summer's flooding.

The Regional Flood Fund has a matching grant through Oct. 23 with more than $85,000 still available to be claimed. For every dollar donated between now and Oct. 23, the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation will match the donation. Local churches are taking a special collection on Oct. 13 for flood relief.  Carlton County residents are encouraged to make their contribution to either a local church or the United Way of Carlton County.

The flooding that hit Carlton County and the rest of the region on June 19, 2012, damaged at least 1,045 homes in Carlton County, with more than 600 sustaining serious damage. Many residents have completed their repairs and rebuilding, but many more need help. At last report, disaster case managers had more than 120 active cases in Carlton County. Dozens of families still need assistance with financial issues, repairs, reconstruction or other problems. An estimated 40 to 60 families still will face substantial rebuilding and repair costs after the end of this year. And many more will have completed most of their work, but still have projects that must be done.

The Regional Long Term Recovery Committee believes that if it can reach the full match, the committee will have most of the financial support needed for the current round of rebuilding efforts.

Following are some key phone numbers for people who may be struggling to recover from the effects of last year's flood:

• Lutheran Social Services Disaster Case Managers: 218-879-6897

• Lutheran Social Services Financial Counseling: 1-888-577-2227

• Stress, Grief Counseling, and Behavioral Health Care: 218-879-4511 or


• Drew Digby, Carlton County Special Projects and Long Term Recovery Manager: 218-310-1188

While many still need help, much has already been done.

Already, hundreds of Carlton County residents have received grants and loans in the millions of dollars to help them rebuild, as well as thousands of hours of volunteer support. For example, the Carlton County Long Term Recovery Committee has approved over $500,000 of grants through the Regional Flood Fund administered by the United Way of Carlton County and the United Way of Greater Duluth to more than 217 families to pay for everything from paint to carpet to mold removal and furnaces. And Minnesota Housing and the U.S. Small Business Administration have approved 234 loans for more than $5.8 million for Carlton County residents, with more than half of the loans charging no interest and are forgivable if the homeowner owns the home for 10 years. Lutheran Social Services disaster case managers have worked with 410 Carlton County families and have closed the case files for at least 280 of those families. And many other groups have also contributed to the recovery.