MUNSTER | An organization designed to provide long-term assistance to flood victims has been awarded a $10.2 million grant from the Indiana Association of United Ways.
The grant will be distributed to the Lakeshore Area Regional Recovery of Indiana through the Lake Area United Way to help residents recover from the storms and floods in June and September last year.
Sharon Kish, LARRI's treasurer and president of the United Way of Porter County, said the organization is "very grateful" to the Lilly Endowment and the Indiana Association of United Ways for this grant to help rebuild the homes of thousands of families in Northwest Indiana.
She said more than 18,000 families were devastated from the flood, and the grant will pay for building materials.
"We still need volunteers over the next couple of years to do the work to rehab the houses," she said.
LARRI officials said they need skilled and non-skilled volunteers to do a variety of work, including painting, cleaning, drywall, carpentry, electrical, painting and plumbing. They also will need housing for volunteer teams and groceries and cooked meals for volunteers.
In the first round of grant applications, LARRI received $3.8 million. It will get the $10.2 million over the next couple of years as it begins rehab work.
LARRI, created late last year, is a compilation of agencies, churches, organizations and volunteers from Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties. It was designed to help people in those counties who still require help as a result of the September flooding.
The organization was one of many that applied for the grant, which comes from the 2008 Indiana Natural Disaster Fund established with a $45 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. The United Way or community foundation in each county formed a long-term recovery committee to propose projects ranging from assisting in rebuilding homes to reconstructing or repairing public facilities.
In a press release from the Indiana Association of United Way, President Roger Frick said Indiana's recovery efforts are large and ongoing.
"More than 7,000 volunteers have been engaged in flood recovery work across the state in the last 12 months. There are long-term recovery committees still at work in more than 10 counties. Homes, roads, sewers and community landmarks all still need attention," he said.