Flooded home owners in Ottawa are being told to document everything in anticipation of applying for financial assistance.
At a series of public meetings across the city on Tuesday, homeowners were told about the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians Program (DRAO), administered by the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
The program hasn’t officially been activated in Ottawa yet but the province has activated it across most of Renfrew County from Madawaska Valley to Pembroke to McNab/Braeside.
Once activated, home owners have 120 days to apply for up to $250,000 in financial aid.
Claims can include everything from clean-up costs to replacing essential home items to making basic repairs. “The program is designed for essential support, so it's to get you back on your feet,” says Kent Fitzhugh, a Municipal Advisor with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. “It covers the basics, a stove, a fridge. It's not designed to go past that."
Home owners can also claim for costs already incurred, like sump pumps, generators, and evacuation expenses.
The key, says Fitzhugh, is to document your damage and costs as best you can. “Right now your number one priority is safety, so be safe. Number two, when you can, start to document your costs you're incurring as you deal with this disaster," he says.
The DRAO Program has some significant limitations.
It only applies to principal residences, so cottage owners aren’t eligible. It doesn’t apply to damage caused by sewer back-ups, nor anything that is covered by home insurance.
The province is monitoring the disaster as it progresses from west to east across Eastern Ontario. The Ministry will determine if-and-when DRAO is activated in Ottawa, Clarence-Rockland, and other communities further along the flood zone.