Flood recovery officials want yellow-stickered Edgecumbe houses fixed and habitable by Christmas, even if their owners don't have insurance.
Whakatāne District Council announced a project this morning to help uninsured or under-insured homeowners repair their flood-damaged homes.
The Rangitāiki River burst its banks in early April and swept through the town, leaving most of it flooded and many homes unable to be repaired.
Whakatāne mayor Tony Bonne said there were about 100 houses, mostly within Edgecumbe, where the owners did not have the funds or insurance to repair their homes after last month's floods.
"There's no way we want those homes to sit and rot because their owners do not have the means required to get them back to a liveable standard," Mr Bonne said.
The project would bring together funding contributions, volunteers, people with the right skills to lead teams, building supply companies, and anyone else who could contribute, he said.
Project leader John Pullar said the team was hoping to get all of the homes involved back into a state where they could be re-occupied by Christmas.
"This will be a mammoth task, but we think it's do-able and we'll be giving it our absolute best shot," he said.
"It's also important to recognise that this is a 'hand-up', not a hand out. We'll be expecting property owners to contribute their efforts to the project, as far as they are able to do so."
But one Edgecumbe resident doubts the project to fix 100 flood-damaged homes by the end of this year is achievable.
Shane Lowe, whose house was badly damaged, said some homes may be fixed by Christmas but not all because there was too much work and not enough labour.
Schools in Edgecumbe re-opened today nearly a month after the floods, although several buildings at Edgecumbe College and sports grounds at both the college and primary school remained cordonned off.
Locals last week organised their own community patrols to keep an eye on unoccupied houses, after complaining that the council and police had not done enough.