A new project has been set up to get uninsured homeowners in Edgecumbe back into their flood-damaged homes by Christmas.
Residents in up to 100 homes cannot fund the repair work to make their homes liveable again - mainly because the houses were uninsured or under-insured.
Whakatane mayor Tony Bonne and Liveable Homes team leader John Pullar today announced the unique project to get all yellow-stickered, flood-damaged homes rehabited again, regardless of insurance status.
This will be a mammoth task but we think it's doable and we'll be giving it our absolute best shot.
The Whakatane District Recovery Team was working with community funding agencies, construction companies, Te Runanga o Ngati Awa, volunteer groups on Project Liveable Homes.
"There's no way we want those homes to sit and rot because the owners do not have the means to get them back to a liveable standard," Mr Bonne said.
Funding contributions, people with construction skills, teams of volunteers and supply companies were coming together to help.
Mr Pullar said all the properties that required help were being identified.
"We will have people at the Edgecumbe Library for the next two weeks at least to gather information and contact the owners of the homes we already know about," he said.
While that was underway, work teams would be assembled and funding and donations of building materials would be collected.
Mr Pullar said the recovery team hoped to get all of the damaged homes into a liveable state by Christmas.
"This will be a mammoth task but we think it's doable and we'll be giving it our absolute best shot.
"It's also important to recognise that is a 'hand-up' not a handout. We'll be expecting property owners to contribute their efforts to the project, as far as they are able to do so."
Anyone who wants to help can call the Whakatane District Council on (07) 306 0500 to register their interest and indicate how they could help.
"Ours is a strong and resilient community and we are confident we can achieve the support we need to make every home in the district liveable again," Mr Pullar said.
Small business would also get government help to get back 'up and running'.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has provided a $250,000 grant to help businesses that have suffered from the flooding.
Relief grants would only be available to businesses with less than 20 employees which could show they have suffered significant and sustained losses by the storm events, for a minimum of four weeks.
Grants would be used to re-establish business viability through premise refits or relocation.
Funding would not be available to cover uninsured losses.
Funding applications will open on Thursday, 4 May. Application forms will be distributed directly by the Chamber of Commerce to the many small businesses it has been assisting. Forms will also be available on the Chamber and Council websites (www.ebopchamber.co.nz or www.whakatane.govt.nz).