2012 Northland flood recovery efforts focus on debt over damage two years later

By KBJR News 1

June 16, 2014 Updated Jun 16, 2014 at 6:26 PM CDT

Thomson, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The recently gathered needs assessment survey, which spanned the Northland's counties most impacted by 2012 flooding, shows much progress in the past two years.

"I would say that 90 percent of the folks are 90–95 percent of the way done with their recovery," said former Carlton County Long Term Recovery Manager Drew Digby, standing in front of a swollen St. Louis River.

Officials say, across Minnesota's impacted counties, about 2,000 homes reported significant damage in the ballpark of $40 million.

Since then Digby says about $20 million worth of state, federal, and private funds have gone into rebuilding.

But the survey also shows that more than 60 people had living space renovations costing over $2,000.

100 people still have major projects to complete in non–living spaces, and on their yards.

"And even those who have done the work, they have a lot of debt," said Digby, "they've had to change their life plans."

Agencies, like One Roof Community Housing, are still helping Northlanders find low–interest loans, and pointing them in the right direction. Other groups are helping people deal with delayed stress.

Digby also reminds people that recovery efforts aren't solely retroactive, adding that proactive measures can, and should, be taken to prevent the next tragedy.

"Finding a way to kind of change your yard to make the run–off go just right is both expensive, time consuming," said Digby, "and it's also the one project that I think gets put off the most."

Through the Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency and Emergency Partnership program, the Northland is now part of a two–year project designed to help other communities respond to disaster.

"This is the first time since I've been doing this work that we are really beginning to be proactive, not reactive," said Nancy Beers, of LSS Disaster Services during a press conference a few weeks ago.

Carlton County is still offering on–site consulting services for those who want to know their next step in flood recovery.

For a list of those agencies still assisting in 20–12 Northland flood recovery efforts:

1 Roof Community Housing


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Billy Wagness
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