Around $244 million from the Canadian Red Cross has been used by the RMWB since the wildfire.
That’s according to Conrad Sauvé, President and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross who announced the organization’s one-year funding numbers for the municipality at a press conference Monday morning.
“This is unique, the speed in which we provided assistance is unprecedented, the pace which we spent during the emergency was quick because it was needed,” said Sauvé.
Of the funds that have been used or committed, families and individuals received $183 million helping them pay for rent, mortgages, household goods, food, travel expenses and other costs. Around $48 million is still available for people greatly affected or for those who’ve yet to apply for financial support.
Community groups have also used around $24 million for 54 different initiatives. Sauvé says roughly $26 million is still available for organizations across the community.
Small businesses have received $28 million which has helped 3,296 small businesses with $1.5 million remaining.
Jenn McManus VP of Operations for Canadian Red Cross, Alberta and Northwest Territories, tells Mix News they could look into allocating more funds towards small businesses if they see a need.
In total, $323 million was allocated to the community’s recovery. This includes $30 million from the Government of Alberta and an additional $130 million from the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, Sauvé announced the Canadian Red Cross is also giving the RMWB an additional $10 million for recovery activities.
“Although the emergency relief needs to happen fast, recovery will take time for Fort McMurray and we need to be there and we will be there to accompany this region throughout its recovery,” said Sauvé.
Mayor Melissa Blake, who was a part of the announcement, didn’t say what projects the funds would be used on but did note it could help cover costs after “not getting all of the funding we would have hoped for through the disaster recovery program.”
McManus says the money would be used for resiliency projects, playground restoration, recovery programming for youth, support for emotional well-being, rebuild permits and more.
As for the remaining $79 million, Sauvé says they expect it to last for a couple years but there is no deadline.
“We’re going to look at the next few years but I think the important thing for us is going at the pace of the community, working with the organizations.”
The last of the funds will be used for psychosocial support and aid the more heavily affected families and individuals.
McManus notes they are still receiving funds but they have stopped appealing for more stating the total amount will be enough to help the community move forward.