Disaster Relief Bill Passed; Residents Move Forward

By KBJR News 1

August 27, 2012 Updated Aug 27, 2012 at 10:50 PM CDT

(MOOSE LAKE, Mn.)---A meeting at the Hope Lutheran Church in Moose Lake tonight offered assistance to people suffering losses in the June Flood.

The Disaster Behavioral Health agenda included information on how to cope while moving forward.

For the community members of the Northland who bared losses due to the June flood, talking about what they lost may be therapeutic.

But on the other hand, when some of these people wake up every morning, their unfamiliar surroundings are a constant reminder of the possessions they lost, including their home.

"Anyway, loosing that house was like loosing my life part—well, almost all my life. Because, I really loved it," Bette Eknes, a flood victim, said.

Meet Bette and Bill Eknes. This November, the couple will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.

They are renting a mobile home in the Hillside Terrace Mobile Home Park.

Their house of more than twenty years is considered uninhabitable due to its flood damage.

"It's an old house that has been built on to. And it had two bedrooms, a dining room, a kitchen, and then a den was added on and that was wonderful," Bette Eknes, a flood victim, said.

The house is located in a low–lying area near Moose Lake.

"We didn't realize we are low," Bette Eknes, a flood victim, said.

The couple says the water was up to their waste line.

"And a neighbor came actually and woke us up and told us we had to get out of there. So he came and woke me up. I didn't want to wake up. I said, it's too early. He said, there's water coming in the house," Bette Eknes, a flood victim, said.

Bette and Bill are not sure what they are going to do next. They may buy the mobile home they are living in.

"Or if we'll move somewhere or if we'll have the lot built up cause it's so low," Bette Eknes, a flood victim, said.

Friday, the Minnesota Legislature passed a disaster relief bill that was signed by Governor Mark Dayton.

The measure provides be 167 point five million dollars among 18 counties, including Carlton and St. Louis Counties.

FEMA individual assistance was denied, so the next step for residents is small business loans though the SBA.

"Next is through the quick start loan program through the state of Minnesota, which was part of the bill that was granted on Friday," Tom Paull, the Moose Lake Flood Administrator, said.

Some of those who suffered the greatest losses are hopeful they'll be eligible for a piece of the financing.

"It's a wait and see. Exactly...and we're so luck that this owner of this place took it off the market for us to rent," Bette Eknes, a flood victim, said.

Nearly one hundred people attended the Disaster Behavior Health meeting at the Hope Lutheran Church.

Officials recommend that residents who incurred flood damage contact the small business Administration to apply for aid.

Justin Reis, NNC. jreis@northlandsnewscenter.com