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RMWB, Government of Alberta and Canadian Red Cross collaborate to support residents rebuilding after 2016 wildfire

(Fort McMurray, AB – November 13, 2018) – At the regularly scheduled Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Council meeting on Tuesday, November 13, 2018, RMWB Council voted to approve $2 million in relief funding for residents who continue to be impacted by rebuilding subsequent to the 2016 Horse River wildfire. This amount matches an additional $2 million in funding provided by the Government of Alberta, along with the Canadian Red Cross earmarking $2 million within its current funding allocation for recovery for a total combined commitment of $6 million.

The funding will be used for primary resident homeowners who are still not back in their home after the disaster to cover costs of interim housing and special assessment fees being faced during the rebuilding process. This includes assistance for primary resident homeowners of Hillview Condominiums.

“We recognize some residents have gone through hardship and difficulty because of the rebuild process and decisions made beyond their control,” said RMWB Mayor Don Scott. “We stand by these residents and will continue to champion their cause. We believe this funding will provide some of the support needed to assist residents in recovering fully from the fire, and we extend our gratitude to the Government of Alberta and the Canadian Red Cross for their ongoing commitment to the recovery and rebuilding of our community.”

“The wildfire had a devastating impact on Fort McMurray and surrounding area, including residents who continue to face challenges during the rebuilding process,” said Brian Malkinson, Minister of Service Alberta. “The Government of Alberta and its partners have already stepped in to provide immediate health supports to those impacted. I am now pleased to report that we will commit an additional $2 million in Disaster Recovery Program funding matching the RMWB to support the Canadian Red Cross’s ongoing recovery work for the people affected by the fires.”

“I’d like to thank the Red Cross and RMWB for their contributions,” Malkinson added. “Together, we will continue to support residents as we look forward to the day when they’re all able to return home.”

“The pace of recovery from a disaster is as unique as the people affected by it. And, at times, it can be complicated. This additional support from the Government of Alberta and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo for our ongoing work in the region will provide much needed financial relief to those who are still not back in their homes after the 2016 wildfires,” said Jenn McManus, vice president, Canadian Red Cross, Alberta and Northwest Territories. “The Canadian Red Cross remains present in the Fort McMurray area and continues to help people, including the primary resident homeowners of Hillview Condominiums, with their recovery through financial assistance, as well as emotional and mental health supports and referrals.”

The funding will be administered through the Canadian Red Cross.

People impacted by the fires who are still not back in their primary homes are encouraged to contact the Canadian Red Cross for an appointment. Appointments can be made by calling 1-888-553-5505 or by emailing wbsupport@redcross.ca to arrange a meeting.

Red Cross financial recovery assistance is provided on a case-by-case basis according to unmet needs, not loss, and is available to people who were primary residents of the Wood Buffalo region as of May 3, 2016. Secondary homes or rental properties are not part of the eligibility criteria for financial recovery assistance.

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