For many affected by the severe weather and flooding of this past spring in Illinois, recovery is well underway or complete. But others will need additional support to recover. When needs exceed federal resources, voluntary agencies step up to the plate. These nonprofit, faith and community based organizations arrive before FEMA does and remain long after FEMA’s mission ends.
“Voluntary organizations play a key part in FEMA's mission to provide support and guidance to states recovering from disasters,” said W. Michael Moore, federal coordinating officer for the Illinois disaster.
Once an emergency requires the attention of the state and the disaster has been declared by the president, FEMA Voluntary Agency Liaisons (VAL) located at the disaster site coordinate with voluntary organizations to support engagement of the whole community in recovery.
One of these voluntary organizations is the American Red Cross. The Red Cross is chartered by Congress to provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. Because of this relationship and its long history of providing assistance, the Red Cross plays a unique leadership role in major disasters.
This year, an opportunity for partnership in another aspect of recovery was provided through new provisions of the FEMA Disaster Case Management Program, a program developed to help identify unmet needs and coordinate them with voluntary organizations that may be able to provide additional assistance. The partnership will ensure that those with unmet needs have access to a coordinated network of social service resources and leverage the ability of recovery groups to provide a continuity of care.
Survivors do not have to apply for or qualify for FEMA assistance to be eligible to receive support through the Disaster Case Management program. The only requirement for the Illinois disaster is that the recovery need was caused by the declared disaster of April 16-May 5.
The Disaster Case Management program in Illinois is built around a 90-day timeline that began in late July and will include screening and referrals to governmental and nongovernmental assistance programs. FEMA is not authorized to provide additional financial assistance to survivors through the Disaster Case Management program.
Those with unmet needs arising from the disaster of April 16-May 5 may reach the American Red Cross by calling 312-854-9870, seven days week, 24 hours a day.
The American Red Cross is not a federal entity; it relies on donations, the generosity of the American public to support nearly 100 percent of its disaster relief activities.
“A FEMA-Red Cross partnership in Illinois provides increased flexibility and service to residents in ways that extend disaster support beyond what’s normally available,” Moore said. “They are one part of the whole team in place to ensure disaster survivors in Illinois are provided optimum support in recovery.”
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.