A faith based organization with plenty of experience in recovery is coming to help Grand Forks rebuild. The goal for Mennonite Disaster Service Canada is ensuring residents impacted by last year’s Boundary flood have safe, permanent housing options by October. They’re aiming to repair and rebuild homes for those considered in high-need based on health, age, disability and finances.

Director of Canadian Operations Ross Penner explains:

“We look for opportunities to assist, we focus on housing for people, those who don’t have the means on their own to recover, frequently that’s uninsured or under-insured people and that can occur of course in disasters where the disasters themselves weren’t insurable.”

He says some of their first priorities include both repairing and rebuilding:

“The first jobs that we’ve signed up now to do, two of them will be major repairs on housing that have had to be gutted because of last year’s flooding; one of the early jobs we’ve signed up for also will include a new build for a family that lost their house.”

Penner adds they’ll be setting up camp in the last week of April, and sending volunteers shortly after. He anticipates MDSC will be here through to the end of September, and possibly the end of October.

Emmeline Marshall-Hill with the Recovery Team says multi-agency coordination is a crucial component to recovery:

“We’re learning from the lessons from other places. One of those lessons is that recovery needs multiple organizations, and our Recovery Operations Centre as we’re referring to as Boundary Flood Recovery, needs to provide the support that invites organizations to the party, so to speak.”

Mennonite Disaster Service Canada has already helped communities such as Williams Lake, Fort McMurray, and High River. Other agencies that have assisted thus far in Boundary Flood Recovery include The Samaritan’s Purse, The Canadian Red Cross, and Salvation Army. MDSC is currently identifying those who qualify for assistance.

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