With ongoing operations continuing across the conference and the opening of our eighth Disaster Recovery Center, we are seeing encouraging strides in our recovery/rebuild efforts. Through March 2019, our Disaster Call Center has scheduled over 5,458 volunteers who have offered over 198,288 hours of service. The Call Center has also scheduled an additional 7,000 volunteers to come and support our efforts through December 2019.
Each Disaster Recovery Center is busy working with our long-term recovery clients, in getting them home again. As we find additional funding sources for operations and materials, we are able to increase the monies offered to the recovery/rebuild efforts of each client. Our unique model of volunteer labor gives us the best opportunity to increase our dollars in recovery/rebuild efforts. Grant funding is currently being offered through UMCOR, Golden Leaf, Lowe’s, Red Cross, Cumberland Community Foundation, North Carolina Emergency Management and other organizations.
One of the issues that the Call Center and each DRC has noted is an increase in the number of calls asking for assistance for the first time. We have noted over 50 calls since March 1 asking for tarps and ERT work to be started. In addition, we have 830 cases still pending as “open” in our operations databank, persons still asking for assistance.
STATE STEP – In December, 2018, over 16,000 homes were listed by FEMA as STEP qualified. STEP (sanitary, temporary, essential, power) was a program designed to quickly get low-income homeowners back into their storm damaged structures. FEMA closed the federal program on April 2, 2019 with only 2,500 homes being touched. NCEM decided to continue the program and asked for our assistance.
The North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church along with the Baptist’s Men have agreed to continue the “State STEP” program as a way to offer our services to those affected but also as a way to stretch our funding dollars, allowing us to offer financial assistance to more homeowners affected. Through the use of state funds first (up to $17,000/home) in the recovery effort (ERT), we can offer more funding to the rebuild process (long-term recovery) through our grants.
CHURCH/PARSONAGE RECOVERY – Hurricane Florence damaged 97 churches and 33 parsonages across the conference. We are finalizing a report for UMCOR on the extent of the damage for each and a cost estimate to repair these facilities. The report took in information on the extent of damage, the amount of insurance offered, the deductible amount of the policy, any gifts or other funding amounts received and the amount of funds needed to finalize repairs. As of today, we are showing approximately $2.5-2.8M are still needed for these repair efforts. This information will be sent to UMCOR as a separate grant request for assistance. We are very hopeful from our conversations with the UMCOR staff to receive some funding for this effort.
WILMINGTON DRC – We finally realized our goal of having eight Disaster Recovery Centers across the state with the opening of the Wilmington DRC on March 30,2019. Ed Sundy, a longtime Early Response Team Leader, agreed to become the Site Manager and is busy hiring staff to meet the needs of the surrounding communities. Their area of operations will include parts of New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties, with Satellite Recovery Center being developed in the Burgaw and Southport communities.
DISASTER RECOVERY CENTERS – Each Disaster Recovery Center is staffed with a Site Manager, two Case Managers, two Construction Managers, Material Handlers and Office Staff. Comprehensive Case Management is our driving force in offering assistance to those affected by the storms and is offered at every DRC. Through our Case Management process, we establish a needs assessment, scope of work and financial plan for each person. Once we have these items completed, we will sign a “covenant” with the homeowner, establishing our bond with them to help in their recovery.
Construction Management begins next in the recovery/rebuild process. Site Managers working with the Disaster Call Center will create a schedule of volunteers for the DRC, showing the number of volunteers coming, skill level and needs. Construction Managers will take this information and establish a work schedule for each team based upon the center’s needs within the home recovery/rebuild scope of work.
All Disaster Recovery Centers will offer office space for staff and housing for team volunteers to include a kitchen, sleeping and bathing facilities. Satellite Recovery Centers will act as a housing location for teams of 10-20 people, placing them closer to our area of operations.
Disaster Call Center- 888-440-9167