Long-Term Recovery is Just Beginning
As the calendar year comes to a close, area organizations are still in the early stages of providing long-term recovery services to those whose lives were turned upside down by the Memorial Day tornadoes.
FEMA — the Federal Emergency Management Agency — estimates as a rule of thumb that 5% of registered households will require long-term case management support to achieve a full recovery. In our community, the percentage will likely be closer to 15% because of the disproportionate number of low-income neighborhoods that were impacted, and the very high percentage of uninsured or underinsured renters who were living in those neighborhoods. Based on FEMA’s formula, more than 850 households may benefit from long-term case management services over the next two to three years.
Because of Catholic Social Services’ strength and competence in the area of case management, along with an existing service area that mirrors the impacted counties, CSSMV was asked and agreed to coordinate the Long Term Recovery Case Management group comprised of St. Vincent de Paul, Community Action Partnership, Salvation Army, Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio and CSSMV. The group has been working to establish common forms, processes, eligibility, and assistance parameters, and convening partner meetings for regular case conferencing, communication and problem solving.
By FEMA’s estimates, eight or nine full-time case managers will be needed to serve the impacted families. While there is not yet enough funding in place to support this number of new employees, a solid start has been made. The Dayton Foundation provided funding for a new full-time manager, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has funded one full-time case manager, and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has covered the cost of two additional case managers. This allows tornado relief funds donated by individuals and organizations to go directly toward assistance for those in need.
Now headquartered at CSSMV’s Eckerle Administration Center on W. Riverview Avenue in Dayton, the long-term tornado recovery case management team is being led by Program Manager Michael Perry, who has extensive experience both providing and managing social services, including directing disaster recovery programs with Catholic Charities in Miami, Florida and Los Angeles, California, as well as other non-profit programs throughout California.
Tamara Gaddis-Strozier, who originally joined CSSMV as a part-time case manager in the Family Stabilization & Support program, was promoted to the full-time position of long-term disaster case navigator this summer. In November, the team grew with the addition of two UMCOR case managers, Halley McClain and Rhonda Zimmers.
All initial calls for tornado-related assistance are still being directed to the United Way of Greater Dayton’s HelpLink 2-1-1, with their operators handling screening and assessments before routing clients to case management services. This allows the case managers to spend their time working directly with clients who have already been through the “triage” process. As of mid-November, there had been more than 300 referrals made for case management assistance, and that number continues to grow.
If you were impacted by the Memorial Day tornadoes and are still in need of assistance, please call HelpLink by dialing 211 or calling (937) 225-3000.