After the 2008 flood, local organizations formed Linn Area Partners Active in Disaster (LAP-AID) in an effort to address the unmet needs of flood survivors in Linn County. Following those recovery efforts, community leaders recognized the potential benefits of building recovery networks before experiencing another disaster.
When the derecho struck in August, recovery efforts were affected by the pandemic and social distancing requirements, but LAP-AID got right to work. Its sub-groups started identifying and working to meet emerging needs, often looking to national organizations for guidance and expertise. As recovery progressed, one of the groups identified a need for a long-term resource navigator.
“The state’s Disaster Case Management program closes after 180 days,” said Elizabeth Cwik, Senior Program Officer at the Community Foundation and Vice Chair of LAP-AID. “Full recovery from the derecho will take two to three years, so there is a need to bridge that gap for people who still need resources.”
The community’s Centralized Intake System, operated by Waypoint Services and part of the collaborative Providing Assistance to Community Homeowners (PATCH) program, was the obvious place to start the process of connecting people to long-term recovery resources.
“We were already taking those calls and talking to people about their needs,” said J’nae Peterman, Director of Housing and Homeless Services at Waypoint. “But there are so many needs beyond housing, and we knew we would need to add a staff position to handle this going forward.”
Waypoint received a $23,225 grant from the Community Foundation’s Disaster Recovery Fund to create the new position. With that grant and support from United Way, Waypoint has started the hiring process for a Long-Term Recovery Navigator.
“Having a Long-Term Recovery Navigator will help connect people to all resources—not just housing,” J’nae said. “In the meantime, we’re compiling a list of clients and their needs, and we’re building a team that will continue to identify long-term needs and trends resulting from the derecho.” Waypoint is also working with other community organizations to ensure services are not duplicated.
Besides housing, the Recovery Navigator will connect people to mental health services, legal assistance, basic needs, and other resources.
To access Centralized Intake, call 319-366-7999.
To learn more about the Disaster Recovery Fund or to make a contribution to help the Community Foundation fund projects like this, click here.