After the Red Cross unexpectedly stopped supporting – again – the victims of the BC floods fear that they will lose their homes. Pi News

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For the second time in a year, Anastasia Shell fears she is homeless.

Shell fled his home during catastrophic floods in November.

Now, almost eight months later, he says, the Canadian Red Cross’s funding has run out unexpectedly and he is unable to pay his rent.

In March, Shell said, the Red Cross told him he would pay a damages deposit of $ 1,300 for six months’ rent and $ 600 for basic necessities. But the support lasted only six months, and he says he received a total of $ 2,200.

“We’re scared, we’re afraid we’ve going to be on the street,” he said.

Tenants affected by the shelling and other flooding in Fraser Valley say they are concerned about the loss of new rental homes as Red Cross funding was halted earlier than expected. Others say they are frustrated at what they describe as “bad” communication from the charity.

In November, 20,000 people were forced to flee their homes, and rivers and farmland were submerged in swamps by torrential rains throughout southeastern BC.

Flood victims like Mary Dick and Stan Verbeek say the Red Cross wants to improve communications. (Paneet Bryce / CBC)

The provincial and federal governments have partnered with the Red Cross to provide personalized relief assistance for flood relief, including assistance for interim housing and basic needs.

While the Red Cross says it has supported thousands of flood victims, struggling residents are demanding greater flexibility in financial assistance and better communications for victims of natural disasters.

‘We have nothing’

Shell says the Red Cross supported her husband, daughter and pets by paying hotel fees for four months after she left her flooded home. He said his pets and family needed more space and security and moved to a temporary rental house in Sumas Prairie, which they could buy with the help of the Red Cross.

“We have nothing, and if we can’t pay the rent, we’re done,” she said, adding that her husband is the only working member of the family and earns a low income.

Mary Dick echoes the sentiment. He says the Red Cross said he would pay half the rent for his six months in April, but he has only received support for three months, and his case manager said July would be the last month for help.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do now, I’m disconnected now,” she said.

Mary Dick says she was told she would receive funding from the Red Cross for six months and instead it lasted three months. (Paneet Bryce / CBC)

Already disabled, Dick says he can no longer afford rent, and this was considered a temporary solution until he found a cheaper option. Now she fears she will live out of her truck.

Dick and Shell waited six months for the Red Cross to help them financially, or until low-cost housing became available, whichever came first.

“You tell us something, and then take it and tear it up. We’re torn enough,” Shell said.

The Red Cross says flood relief support continues

The Red Cross says it cannot comment on individual cases for privacy reasons, but says it has not stopped supporting its financial aid and recovery, which includes access to interim housing, home repair and reconstruction and mental health services. Supports.

As of May 1, the Canadian Red Cross said it had disbursed more than $ 19 million in evacuation assistance to more than 7,500 eligible families and raised more than $ 40 million in flood relief. However, it said the amount raised was not government-matched funds.

The emergency management BC says the province’s relationship with the Canadian Red Cross is “very valuable” in supporting flood victims, but acknowledges that there are “concerns about service delivery”.

On November 16, 2021, floodwaters engulfed Highway 1 in Abbotsford. The province says it will continue to work with the Canadian Red Cross to help British Colombians affected by the floods. (Jonathan Howard / The Canadian Press)

The province said it had held talks with the Red Cross and that those concerns were being addressed.

Emergency Management BC says the Canadian Red Cross will continue to work to ensure the best possible support for British Columbians affected by the floods and to ensure that they receive the support they need as long as they need it.

However, at least one flood victim says he never received any of the financial help initially provided by the Red Cross manager.

Stan Verbeek said the Red Cross manager would help him with the damage deposit and $ 1,300 in rent for six months in February.

Flood victims like Stan Verbeek say the Red Cross wants to improve communications. (Paneet Bryce / CBC)

He said Verbeek had made eight attempts to contact his case manager but was sent to other staff.

Verbeek eventually gave up and said the case manager did not respond.

“I tried and tried and nothing happened,” he said.

The 71-year-old says he eventually borrowed from others, but the Red Cross’ help would have gone a long way in supporting him and his grandchildren who live with him.

“We were counting on it,” he said.

He, Shell and Dick are grateful for the ways the Red Cross has supported them, but say they can use the extra help. All three now rely on someone’s food center, which provided food and supplies to hundreds of flood – affected residents.

The province encourages flood victims to contact the Canadian Red Cross, BC Housing and local nonprofit housing associations for concerns regarding shelter and financial assistance.