As flood waters recede throughout the province, and with another wildfire season on the horizon, the Province of British Columbia and the Canadian Red Cross have announced a new initiative designed to help people and families affected by disaster better transition into long-term recovery.
“Catastrophic events like floods and fires are happening more frequently, often coming earlier in the season, and affecting the lives of more people in B.C.,” said Premier John Horgan. “Our government is working with public-safety partners, First Nations and local governments, to adapt to a rapidly changing climate, and to provide British Columbians with the services they need to get through difficult times.”
The Recovery Transition Program is a partnership with the Red Cross, which will provide support and financial assistance to people who cannot return to their homes.
“Throughout last year’s wildfires and floods, and during this year’s spring floods, the Canadian Red Cross stepped up to support our government and British Columbians in times of need,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. “In a catastrophic emergency, the Red Cross’s experience, systems and technology will support our local government-managed emergency social services, to reach people as quickly as possible.”
The new Recovery Transition Program is the first program of its kind offered in B.C., and was jointly developed by Emergency Management BC (EMBC) and the Canadian Red Cross. The program is in its early stages. EMBC and the Red Cross will work with local governments to implement it as quickly as possible.
“We can’t overstate the impact on communities and families during times of disaster,” said Kimberley Nemrava, Canadian Red Cross vice-president for British Columbia and Yukon. “With the support of generous British Columbians, and in close collaboration with the government, we are pleased to be able to provide this assistance.”
British Columbia operates one of the most-generous emergency social services programs in Canada, providing people with immediate emergency supports. These supports can include short-term shelter, food and clothing. Those affected by an emergency typically receive emergency social services support for up to 72 hours. The Province has been extending this timeline to meet the needs of those impacted by the flooding in Grand Forks.
The Recovery Transition Program will commence when emergency social services concludes, and provide assistance for up to 90 days to households that are primary residences and have been determined to be uninhabitable by the local government.
- The Recovery Transition Program will provide support and basic financial assistance to people who cannot return to their homes, giving people the support they need to get back on their feet.
- It is the first program of its kind offered in British Columbia. It was jointly developed by EMBC and the Canadian Red Cross.
- The program will:
- Provide families with financial support for basic needs like housing, food and personal needs.
- Prioritize homes that have been assessed as uninhabitable or having major damage.
- Homes considered uninhabitable (tagged “red” or “yellow” through damage assessments) will receive:
- Lump sum payment of $2,850 for 30 days of basic support assistance.
- Up to two extensions based on verifiable need (for a total of $8550 for 90 days of support assistance).
- Red Cross to manage extension approvals and eligibility assessment for other supports on a case-by-case basis.
- The Canadian Red Cross will manage the administration of the Recovery Transition Program.
- For First Nations people on reserve, this type of assistance is provided through the federal department, Indigenous Services Canada.
- Recovery Transition Assistance will also be complemented by Canadian Red Cross assistance that focuses on highly vulnerable families. This assistance is already being provided through the Canadian Red Cross, and has been since the floods began.