Disaster Financial Assistance: Provides support to rebuild
People apply for Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) when they have lost their home or essential belongings and are uninsured or don’t have enough insurance to cover their losses. They are looking to government for help amid disaster to rebuild their homes.
In 2021, private sector DFA was only available for losses related to the atmospheric river. DFA provided over $32.6 million in assistance to BC homeowners and tenants impacted by the atmospheric river events. However, DFA support is limited in scope by design, and people experienced significant delays, unclear procedures and poor communication.
WHAT WE FOUND:
Most people who applied for DFA had not received payment after six months, and for some, it was more than a year. The program did not have enough staff or resources in place to make timely decisions on DFA applications and appeals. Delays caused financial and emotional stress for people.
The program did not communicate clearly – and sometimes did not communicate at all – with applicants at key stages of the process. When people could not get information, decisions appeared inconsistent and unfair. Many homeowners and tenants who appealed DFA decisions still do not have an answer.
DFA was only offered to homeowners and renters for the atmospheric river events, not for the wildfires, because of the availability of residential fire insurance. The program only provides partial reimbursement of costs to replace “the necessities of life” – basic, essential belongings and home. The program has not considered equity in its communications, process, or decision-making, and it does not collect relevant data about who accesses the program.
Monthly progress on processing DFA applications, March 2022 to March 2023
Overall payments to applicants
Atmospheric river payments to homeowner and residential tenant applicants, as of March 2023
Data provided by Emergency Management BC.
*Private sector applications only