As the damage caused by the tornado that swept through Levin on Friday, May 20, came to light, Mayor Bernie Wanden and the HDC councillors made the decision to set up a Mayoral Relief Fund to assist those affected.
That same afternoon the Emergency Management Minister, Kiri Allen, announced central government would match the $100,000 contributed by Horowhenua District Council.
On Tuesday, May 24, the Horowhenua NZ Trust confirmed it would be contributing $50,000 to the fund.
With generous donations from local businesses and individuals like RJ's Licorice and All Black Codie Taylor as well, the Mayoral Relief Fund has reached a total of $252,571 just five days after being established.
According to a media release from HDC, the fund is intended to provide short-term financial assistance to individuals, families, groups and organisations affected by the severe weather event.
Locals affected by the tornado can request assistance with:
- Damaged property
- Essentials for daily life
- Costs not covered by insurance
- Financial burden due to the tornado event
The council has stated the applications must be connected with last Friday's tornado, from within the Horowhenua district, and there can be only one per household or organisation.
Each application will be dealt with on its own merits; funds granted will be one off only and must be used for the purpose outlined in the application.
Applicants will also need to declare if they have received financial or other assistance from Work and Income or any other organisation in relation to this tornado event.
There are three ways people can apply for these funds:
- Online - horowhenua.govt.nz/CommunityPlaces/Grants-Community-Funding/Horowhenua-Mayoral-Relief-Fund
- By Email - download the application form, fill it in and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
- In Person - download the application form, fill it in and either drop it off to Council's Main Office at 126 Oxford Street, Levin or post it to Private Bag 4002, Levin 5540
Once fund applications have been submitted, Mayor Bernie, along with a special committee, will consider all applications and make the final decisions on which ones will be granted.
Applications close on Monday, June 13 at 5pm.
A council spokesperson said, "Once we get to 13 June, we will assess how much funding we have remaining and make a decision on how to allocate the remaining amount ... we are aware that some families have been impacted severely."