GLCC helps with Houghton relief

HOUGHTON — The Great Lakes Conservation Corps is coordinating the Houghton Volunteer Reception Center and Donation Center seven days a week to assist local communities with disaster recovery following the heavy flooding that took place in June.

The volunteer center, located in the Copper Country Mall, is open from 1 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Due to limited funding the volunteer center, will eventually shift to weekend-only operation, according to the Superior Watershed Partnership.

The SWP first deployed GLCC crews to assist with disaster response within 24 hours of the flood event and GLCC crews have been on site every week since.

At the volunteer center, the GLCC crews assist home owners with reporting damages, signing up for free labor and technical assistance, receiving free donated items such as blankets, food and dehumidifiers, and more. Local businesses and community organizations have also provided free meals and snacks for both homeowners and GLCC members working at the volunteer center.

The GLCC organizes and keeps up-to-date inventories of all items in the donation warehouse and coordinates with emergency managers and call-in centers to assure residents receive prompt assistance. In addition, the GLCC has been canvassing door-to-door to ensure residents are aware of all community resources and assistance available.

The GLCC continues to assist homeowners with debris removal, mucking out basements, home clean-up and site stabilization.

So far all disaster response in the Houghton area, including the volunteer center, has been almost entirely locally funded. While the state has issued a formal disaster declaration and requested a federal disaster declaration, there has not been any significant state or federal financial support provided as yet.

Local emergency partners are hopeful that a federal declaration will release some disaster funding to assist impacted communities, but there are no guarantees, the SWP said.

GLCC crews work in all 15 counties of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to implement a wide range of conservation and community projects including, but not limited to, stream restoration, erosion control, habitat restoration, environmental monitoring, trail building, public access improvements and disaster relief.

The SWP is a Great Lakes non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the watersheds of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula including Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.