Disaster relief office keeping busy

With many district residents still picking up the pieces from last month’s flooding, the Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs’ claims office has been hopping since opening its doors here two weeks ago.
“We’ve been quite busy,” office manager Ian Mollett said Monday. “Roughly speaking, there’s 64-65 claims filed and there’s another 25 advance payment claims filed.”
The first claims are those filed to recover up to 90 percent of essential losses while advance claims give claimants an advance up to $2,500 on their payment.
“Things are going well as far as getting the process going,” Mollett said. “In any type of disaster relief situation, people can become frustrated getting things back to the way they were and I think us being here helps.”
Mollett, who has been out “in the field,” said the destruction he’s seen across the district is comparable to a tornado that hit Barrie, Ont. some 17 years ago.
“It’s very understandable why people are frustrated,” he remarked.
“We want to ensure there’s enough adjusters involved that everything goes smoothly,” added Mollett.
He also stressed residents should know there’s a difference as to what they can and can’t claim for damages.
“This is purely about essentials. It helps people get back on their feet. It’s not to catch all things they may not be insured for,” Mollett warned.
“Essentials are things like the fridge, stove, washer, dryer,” he added. “If your satellite dish is affected, we’re not going to cover that. If your garage is flooded, that will be covered, but the vehicle won’t be.”
Those affected by flood damage, but not insured, can make a claim at the ODRAP office, located at 400B Scott St. (the old Union Gas office).
The office, which is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., will have staff on hand to answer questions or help applicants out. Residents also can call 274-4700.
Applications also can be found at www.mah.gov.on.ca/forms/odrap-e.pdf
The office here will be open for about six months to serve district residents, during which time the ministry-appointed staff will try to get as much done as possible, said Mollett.