Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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April 2014 Archive for Disaster relief

RSS By: Pastor Craig Miller

Disaster relief coordinator Pastor Craig Miller shares disaster relief information in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Churches on the front lines of disasters must be ready to move quickly

Apr 28, 2014

This week I read an article from the Episcopal Church about churches responding to disasters. Our churches, being locally based, are well-positioned to provide immediate aid after a disaster strikes. Through their community and larger relationships they can become a bridge to help neighbors recover. Congregations can prepare to serve in a disaster by taking steps now to ensure their facilities are adequate to meet needs when disaster strikes.


Read the story here.

 

 

 

 

In thanksgiving for Disaster Case Managers

Apr 04, 2014

As I spoke with a leader of the Staten Island Long Term Recovery Organization (SILTRO) about the developing recovery organization, we got onto the subject of Disaster Case Management (DCM). Normally, a Long Term Recovery Group like SILTRO builds on a foundation of strong DCM. Disaster Case Managers work with clients to develop a disaster recovery plan. They assist these clients to find and gain access to valuable resources and services.

 

Disaster Case Managers help individuals and families assess their capacity to recover. Together they look at personal resources, federal and state assistance, insurance and other connections to determine what the clients can do for themselves. Once these resources have been exhausted the Disaster Case Manager can bring the case to the Long Term Recovery Group for further assistance from voluntary construction organizations and the Unmet Needs Committee.

 

The SILTRO leadership understands the reason DCM usually forms the foundation of a well-functioning Long Term Recovery Group but, this leader stated, DCM in Staten Island is very weak. This caught me by surprise and prompted me to ask whether that statement is true for all case managers.

 

It turns out that the Lutheran Disaster Response of New York DCM stands out above most, if not all other DCM in Staten Island. LDRNY began its DCM program in the first weeks after superstorm Sandy and has served hundreds of clients. They currently have nearly 550 clients in their program that covers Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island. Over the past fifteen months they have closed over 260 cases, most of them having successfully accomplished their recovery objectives.

 

In addition to providing DCM for survivors of Sandy, LDRNY also offers construction assistance through their staff construction manager and works closely with Lutheran Counseling Center to provide appropriate spiritual and mental health assistance for those who request it. LDRNY is also a donor at the New York City Unmet Needs Roundtable administered by New York Disaster Interfaith Services.

 

LDRNY Disaster Case Managers note the challenges that continue as they work with clients, the largest being the need for affordable rental housing, especially for section 8 cases. New York had a tight housing market before the storm that has only gotten worse as Sandy and the new federal flood maps have taken many units away. Another growing challenge is the level of frustration among those who continue to wait for services, especially those who continue to struggle with the great quantity of paperwork required by the many programs offering assistance.

 

For those ready to repair or rebuild their homes, the Case Managers find that reputable contractors are hard to find. Not to be overlooked is the growing evidence of hunger in surviving families that have had to choose between the costs of recovery and the cost of food.

 

Thanks be to God for LDRNY, their Disaster Case Managers, and those like them in other agencies. Evidence suggests that for every $1 put toward DCM, survivors receive at least $7 in benefit.

 

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