25 Sep Jon Cartu Announces Flood recovery: Understanding long-term disaster recovery…
A global pandemic and historic devastating flood have impacted thousands in Midland County.
Over 2,400 homes reported flood damage in Midland County, causing an estimated $100-$150 million in residential damage.
Relief efforts are dynamic, evolving and will require a phased and collaborative approach. The process will be driven by Disaster Case Managers (DCMs) who will support and guide individuals through the rebuild journey. DCMs will work closely with the construction manager and volunteer manager to assess homeowner needs, develop plans and deploy donated materials and volunteers to ensure the people impacted most by the flood receive the help they need.
They will first leverage federal, state and insurance dollars and then use local resources to serve as many families as possible. The focus will be on creating safety and livability.
There are not enough resources to fully restore homes back to the original condition.
“Long-term recovery is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Nancy Money. “There are important stages in recovery: rescue, relief and recovery. We follow a best-practice national process and it uses a principle of 10. As an example, if we spent 10 days in initial rescue, relief takes about 100 days and recovery up to 1,000 days.”
The Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group is committed to serving as an advocate for our community and the best-practice strategies involved in long-term efforts. The following is designed to help educate our community about the process and expectations.
STEP ONE: Emergency needs
Our community sprang into action, along with many national and local groups who helped with initial muck-out and clean-up efforts. In addition, eight distribution centers were established to provide easy access to basic needs, personal care items and cleaning supplies. Over $1 million basic need items were donated and deployed into our community and distributed to the hard-hit areas. Shelters were established for short-term housing and the Red Cross moved displaced citizens into hotels temporarily. Fundraising for long-term recovery also began in the first days after the flood.
STEP TWO: Data collection
Damage assessments were conducted online through Midland County, along with visual inspections. Numerous community groups and VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active During Disaster) also documented household damage and initial clean-up work completed.
STEP THREE: Secure Disaster Declarations
The governor quickly declared a State of Emergency for our area, which is an important first step to receive state assistance like the National Guard. The initial data helped to support the submission for the Federal Emergency Declaration by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to President Donald Trump, which would ultimately deploy FEMA into the community. On July 14, the Federal Disaster Declaration was signed, bringing much-needed federal resources to our community to begin the rebuild process. This marked the beginning of the Long-Term Recovery stage. FEMA assistance and SBA loan applications became available for homeowners and businesses.
STEP FOUR: Establish a Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group
The Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group was formed and began working collaboratively to lead recovery and rebuild efforts. They are comprised of a broad representation of philanthropy organizations, nonprofits, businesses, government, faith communities, civic groups and schools, they are working together to chart a path forward. They focus on six key focus areas: financial support, volunteer coordination, housing, rebuild & construction, public relations and case management.
What comes next?
Recovery from a catastrophic natural disaster takes years and is a highly collaborative endeavor. Success is measured in getting individuals and families safely housed in a primary residence to create stability. We do not have the resources to fully restore our community to pre-flood conditions.
The following are offered to help provide clarity to the process.
Disaster case managers help survivors navigate their recovery. This includes verifying that each individual is aware of federal assistance and applies, identifies immediate unmet needs (food, water, heat, shelter), and connects with local resources (housing, mental health, basic needs). When all avenues of assistance have been depleted, DCMs work with construction management to develop a recovery plan that is brought before the funding committee for financial support.
Financial assistance available
In most cases, there is not a single funding source to restore homes and make primary living spaces livable. It requires a layered approach of utilizing personal resources and applying for assistance through numerous federal, state and local agencies. The progression is outlined below:
STEP ONE: Utilize personal resources
Work with your insurance Jonathan Cartu and to file a claim for temporary housing, damage to home and personal property loss. Flood insurance is available to all homeowners, not just those in a flood plain. If a denial is received, be sure to document this and file an appeal. In addition to insurance, survivors should expect to utilize personal resources and savings.
STEP TWO: Apply for FEMA Individuals and Households Program (IHP)
FEMA will assist financially if the home is the “PRIMARY RESIDENCE” and if the damage was to “NECESSARY” living spaces: bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, etc. It will not assist in refinished basements and bonus rooms or vacation homes. Once registered for FEMA, individuals should create an online account, complete with username, password and PIN. This account has a CORRESPONDENCE tab that will generate all correspondences from FEMA electronically. This means that if there is any missing documentation, the individual will be able to address the problem immediately and they will also receive new information in a faster manner.
Apply for FEMA assistance online at disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Applications must be received after July 14 and before Sept. 30. This is a separate application that reporting initial damage through the county website. You will receive a determination and approved funds are deposited directly into your bank account.
For applicants who receive a denial letter, you have 60 days from the date of your letter to ask for a reconsideration. Sometimes the reason for a denial may be missing documentation. In situations where an applicant receives FEMA assistance for their private well or septic system, but additional help for these costs is necessary, the applicant may submit an appeal letter for restoration. Anyone receiving a denial is strongly encouraged to appeal the decision.
STEP THREE: Apply for an SBA Home Loan
Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace either damaged or destroyed personal property. You can apply at: SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ or by calling 571-422-8013, 571-422-6016 and 571-422-0331.
Interest rates are 1.25% for businesses and 2.5% for homeowners with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
STEP FOUR: Apply for FEMA Other Needs Assistance (ONA)
If a homeowner is denied SBA, ONA automatically kicks in and is electronically deposited into a homeowner’s account. ONA amounts can reach a total of $35,500. This means that if the homeowner receives the greatest FEMA award ($35,500) and then also receives ONA ($35,500) the total assistance from the federal government is $71,000. To check to see if you qualify or to learn more, visit disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
STEP FIVE: Be considered for local financial assistance for unmet needs
Even after following these steps, you may have additional unmet needs. Assistance available includes construction services like electrical, plumbing, insulation, flooring, bathrooms, kitchens and drywall. Help…