Partnerships are vital in not only the response, but recovery of communities impacted by disaster. South Carolina is no exception as communities continue to work toward moving themselves forward after the devastation of Hurricane Matthew. A great example of partnerships comes within the shelter in the town of Mullins. Along with the Red Cross, FEMA and the Marion County Department of Social Services, are reviewing the needs of the remaining residents together.
Shelter residents are assigned one of four groups who will review and tailor a plan that will help to transition them back into their community. Each resident is unique and has a variety of needs. Sue, a Red Cross volunteer leading the recovery effort at the shelter said, “We are trying to meet the specific needs of each of the residents”. With an upbeat attitude she exclaims that they always look at how to make it happen.
This unique group of caseworkers follows up and keeps families on track and motivated each day. Shelters are never meant to be a permanent solution. Red Cross looks at integrating each resident back into the community as quickly as possible. However, the Red Cross takes on the responsibility at making sure every resident at the shelter has a plan as to what their next steps will be and that is where these agency groups come into play.
A wide range of needs include scheduling of inspections, medical assistance, transportation, relocation assistance, and rent stipends. So far they have issued tents, sleeping bags, MREs, and other goods that have been needed. They have identified the availability of mobile home, funds from FEMA and worked at coordinating with other agencies such as the Veterans Administration.
With each day, the teams are successful helping residents find alternative accommodations and as families move on, the shelter continues to dwindle in size. However, every resident holds a special place in the hearts of each of these caseworkers as they know their situation and story intimately. As the team transitions another family out, the room explodes in applause. The team exudes happiness for the residents and knowing that the hard work to find that family what they need has paid off.