The Minot Area Recovery Fund has given more than $3.3 million in expense reimbursements to area residents impacted by the 2011 flood in a first phase of distributions, the Minot Area Community Foundation reported Thursday.
Since the reimbursement process started in November, volunteers and staff from the foundation have meet with more than 1,700 individuals or families to review receipts and distribute checks to aid in the recovery process. Individual reimbursements vary between $500 and $2,000, based on a homeowner's level of water inundation.
Of the 3,026 people contacted about the reimbursement process, an estimated 960 did not show up during the week of their assigned appointments. More than 300 individuals asked to have their appointments moved to the spring.
The foundation now will send letters again to those who have not responded or who had asked for postponement. This second phase of expense reimbursement for clean-up, rebuilding or restoring of flood damaged homes will be handled in appointments at the end of the month.
"We found that the majority of the homeowners have been able to go through the process of verifying ownership and showing receipts related to clean-up, recovery or rebuilding in just a matter of minutes," Ken Kitzman, president of the community foundation, said in a prepared statement. "And for those that aren't showing up to receive an allocated portion of the donated funds, they are often indicating that they are in a good enough position to not need the funds and want that money to go to others who were affected by the Mouse River flood of 2011."
Kitzman encourages those flood-impacted residents who have been inclined to decline reimbursement to accept the funds and then "pay it forward" to another flood-impacted individual or cause they feel can use the extra assistance.
The foundation hopes to close out the distribution in phase two, but if residents remain who have not responded to attend appointments, a third phase and another round of letters will occur. In that final phase, people will have until June 30 to contact the foundation to request assistance, Kitzman said.
About 70 people have contacted the foundation who are eligible for assistance but had not returned surveys to get on the mailing list. Their requests will be reviewed after the phased program ends. Although the recovery fund is not holding back dollars for them, Kitzman said, he anticipates there will be adequate money in the fund to cover the requests.
About $6.53 million has been raised for the Recovery Fund. Of this amount, the foundation has awarded more than $510,000 to various charitable organizations for programs that addressed immediate needs, such as the "I Helped Rebuild Minot Sheetrock Giveaway," the Souris Basin Unmet Needs Committee and the "Give360's Fresh Coat, Fresh Start" project.