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Chronic delays in DRP funding hurting Medicine Hat residents: Pedersen

MEDICINE HAT, AB (July 11, 2014): Continuous delays and mismanagement from Alberta’s Disaster Recovery Program (DRP) is leaving 2013 flood victims feeling abandoned and in financial distress, MLA Blake Pedersen said today.

Medicine Hat resident and 2013 flood victim, Dean Kosmick, is currently receiving accommodation support from Red Cross as he pays his mortgage on his house. His house has been deemed unlivable since last year’s flooding as he waits for DRP to approve funding to make the necessary repairs or replacement.

The home received engineering reports in November and December, confirming the damage was due to overland flooding and was repairable, but a January report confirmed it would be cheaper to rebuild than repair.  DRP has since conducted another engineering report as the costs of repairing or replacing the house continue to grow.

To date, DRP has only given $4,700 to partially fix foundational issues in the basement that has sunk 9 inches since last year’s flooding. Kosmick, a father of one, is currently on medical disability and is facing the end of accommodation support from Red Cross this month.

“The PC government made explicit promises that no one would be abandoned after commitments to help everyone affected by this horrendous event. Unfortunately, there are still 41 per cent of DRP claims open and not settled,” Pedersen said.  “Residents like Dean and the almost 2,812 flood victims still waiting for their claims to be settled deserve to know why they are facing constant delays and need to fight tooth and nail for repairs.”

According to the Alberta Government’s, Flood Recovery One-Year Report(Page 7), 10,486 DRP applications were made to the province, of which 2,306 were deemed ineligible, 1,314 withdrawn and only 4,054 completed.

“This is becoming a case where the bureaucracy is getting in the way of showing a sense of humanity,” Pedersen said.

Kosmick said the constant delays and battles with DRP have left him and his family on edge for the past year.

“It was a promise by this government that no one would get left behind, but both myself and countless others now feel like we are in an impossible situation,” Kosmick said.  “It’s easy to forget a year later these problems still exist for many of us.  We hope and plead that a solution is still just around the corner.”