Slow clean-up 3 weeks after tornado rips through Barrie, Ont.

Nearly three weeks after an EF-2 tornado tore through a community in Barrie’s south end, the clean-up is slowly progressing as more resident gain access to their homes.

“It’s sinking in and it’s been quite a ride,” said Bailey Hartley who just moved back to into her home with her husband and daughter on Monday after living in a hotel and renting a place on AirBnB.

All of the windows are boarded up and inside, the floors have been removed and parts of the ceiling have been cutawy due to water damage after crews were able to clean-up the debris left in the wake of the twister.

“It feels weird because there are no floors, a lot of your furniture is gone – we’ve owned this home for seven years next month, so we’ve built a life here and it’s sad in that way.”

Chantal Belley was allowed to move back into her home on the weekend and still cleaning up shattered glass.

The tornado shattered windows and tore shingles off the side and rear of her house. Belley is now waiting on her insurance company to finishing assessing the damage and has been told the repairs could take months, possibly even longer.

“I’ve been told the siding could take a year, we could have boarded windows into the winter because with Covid there has been supply issues,” Belley said. “There is definitely concerns, we don’t have full coverage we could getting more water damage.”

Currently, 70 homes have been deemed uninhabitable. Upwards of 200 more were damaged. The city has allowed access to 39 properties.

“There are at least 20 to 25 homes with their roofs lost, that general means the home is a write off and has to be torn down,” said Glenn McGillvray with Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction which sent out a team to assess the damage.

McGillvray said the cost to repair homes could also increase.

“The price of lumber has been sky high – the price of drywall and getting contractors might be tough.”

As the damage assessments and clean-up continues, the community continues to rally around those impacted.

Donations continue to be collected and distributed to those who need the most help, while an army of volunteers help with the clean-up efforts.

“For the families it’s coming back into their homes and trying to decide what do I need versus what do I want, a lot of its food and toiletries – things we take for granted,” said Sher Braun who has helped about a dozen families with her on initiative Clean-up Barrie.

The Ontario government has recently announced it was activating the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians (DRAO) program to support impacted residents.

The DRAO assists with emergency expenses and the costs to repair or replace essential property after a natural disaster for a primary residence and its basic contents, a small business, farm or a rural, not-for-profit organization.

Residents with no insurance coverage or insufficient insurance coverage for essential costs will have until Nov. 26, 2021, to apply through the program.

- With files from CTV News Barrie