Esther Friedman shared video of flooding in her basement, near the corner of Orange Road and Hillside Avenue in Montclair. (COURTESY ESTHER FRIEDMAN)

A disaster relief fund set up by Councilman Peter Yacobellis Wednesday night to help residents recover from Ida has surpassed its original goal of $20,000.

“We are living from crisis to crisis, and I’m very concerned about how our people are doing, particularly when you compound all of these things from the pandemic to unemployment to rising costs of living and then throw in a storm that destroys your personal property,” Yacobellis said in a Friday press release.

As of Friday evening, the fund has raised more than $21,400. A new goal has been set for $25,000.

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A key pillar of the program will be direct cash relief to low-income tenants who do not have rental insurance or have policies that don’t cover losses like those incurred in the storm, the press release said. The current funds can support up to 20 $500 grants to cover the cost of replacing necessary personal property. An application to receive funds is here.

Other uses of the fund money include $10,000 for debris removal and clean-up services for low-income residents, and a $1,000 grant to the Free Little Pantry program to stock five Montclair pantries with food and personal hygiene products, the release said.

“People are finding that they don’t have coverage for this kind of event and many people don’t have flood insurance in general because they’ve never flooded before and insurance criteria has not caught up to climate change,” Yacobellis said in the Friday release. “As we continue to raise funds and see response rates to programs, we will shift resources and consider additional support measures.”

Yacobellis had previously said he’d work with community organizations to identify need and help distribute funds. Montclair Mutual Aid and the Montclair Foundation are providing advice and oversight, he said Friday.

Talia (she/her) is the education reporter for Montclair Local and is always looking for ways to view stories through a solutions journalism lens. She has spent time in newsrooms of all sizes and scopes....