Although nearly five months have passed since Colorado’s devastating floods, the Red Cross is still active helping flood survivors and local community groups meet needs related to the September floods.
Our work is two-fold: Trained Red Cross volunteers are working one-on-one with individuals and families who need extra help getting back on their feet, and our staff are also working closely with community partners to support locally-based long-term recovery efforts.
Since September, we have opened more than 1,300 cases to help flood-affected residents with their unmet emergency needs or recovery plans. Hundreds of people have received financial assistance from the Red Cross to help offset transportation or move-in costs such as rent or security deposits, because they can’t return home.
Help is still available. Depending on each individual’s circumstances, the Red Cross may be able to provide assistance for unmet needs such as:
• Assistance moving into a rental (if you can’t afford the security deposit or first month’s rent)
• Water storage
• Storing belongings
• Purchasing beds, mattresses or furniture
• Supplemental heating
• Helping defray the transportation costs associated with increased driving distances due to the flood.
In addition to direct assistance, Red Cross caseworkers are providing flood survivors with connections to other resources in the community. No single agency can meet all the needs caused by such a terrible disaster. The Red Cross is one of many agencies coming together to ensure that basic needs are met and to work on the long-term recovery of entire communities. If the Red Cross is not the primary agency providing for a specific need, our caseworkers are able to help get callers into the case management system, and get them connected to the partner agency that is meeting that specific need.
If you were affected by the flood, you can access help by calling 888-635-6381 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday to speak with a caseworker.
Strengthening Whole-Community Recovery
One of the most effective and efficient ways to help numerous people affected by a disaster is to support efforts that benefit large portions of an affected community – in that way, you are helping many people with shared needs rather than just one person at a time.
In addition to providing individual help, the Red Cross is also participating in a number of community-based recovery efforts. We’re providing input, expertise and guidance as well as support for specific needs that arise.
For example, in early December the Red Cross purchased and delivered a dozen 450-gallon water tanks for residents of mountain communities who still had no access to clean water due to damaged infrastructure or floodwater contamination. Our workers brought the tanks to a central point in Estes Park, where community volunteers collected them and transported them to Big Elk, Pinewood, Drake and Glen Haven.
In early January, the Red Cross provided the community of Glen Haven with 40 pairs of winter work gloves and $1,000 in gas cards to fuel the heavy-duty equipment necessary to clean up after the floods and repair damaged roads. The Red Cross has also provided water and snacks to support local volunteer clean-up and rebuilding efforts.
Our experience has also shown that communities affected by disasters have better long-term results when local residents, agencies and community groups take charge of their community’s recovery. Our experts are plugged in to these very local efforts throughout Boulder, Weld, Larimer and El Paso counties. When needs are identified, we determine whether the Red Cross can play a role in helping to meet those needs.
Another way the Red Cross continues to be active in flood recovery is through the Coordinated Assistance Network. This is a client case management tool that we are sharing with partners so that multiple agencies can collaborate on delivering services to individuals and families impacted by the floods. The Coordinated Assistance Network provides a database where recovery agencies can open a case for a family and track their needs as well as what various agencies are doing to meet those needs. The Red Cross is providing access to this tool as well as training local leads in each community so that they can manage casework for their community.
These are just some of the ways the Red Cross continues to actively help people affected by the devastating floods. Recovery is a long-term process that can take months – and even years – and we will continue to be involved in helping Colorado residents get their lives back to normal.
You can read more about our initial response and what the Red Cross has done since the floods stuck by browsing our blog at www.coloradoredcross.blogspot.com.