AUSTIN, Texas -- Wildfire survivors with serious unmet needs even after receiving state and federal disaster assistance can get additional help through a free, one-on-one support program. The program pairs survivors with a case manager whose sole job is to help them through the recovery process.
The new Disaster Case Management (DCM) program is fully funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and administered by the Administration of Children and Families (ACF), a federal division responsible for programs that promote the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals and communities.
At the request of the state, the program is operating in 23 counties and offering case management services to Texans for up to six months from the Sept. 9 disaster declaration. Survivors can call the Texas 2-1-1 Helpline for information and referrals to a personal case manager.
One of the greatest strengths of this program is the local, grassroots delivery of case management services. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Austin is training, managing and monitoring the scalable team of professionals dedicated to helping survivors address unmet needs for longer term housing, medical supplies, food, clothing, affordable furniture, crisis counseling, and much more.
“Case management is a valuable step to assure that survivors achieve self sufficiency,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes of FEMA. "FEMA supports this program and its efforts to empower survivors as they work toward getting their lives back to normal."
The process involves an assessment of the wildfire survivor’s unmet needs and the development of a goal-oriented plan for the person’s recovery. Case managers then match a survivor’s essential needs to available resources in the area, monitor their progress toward reaching recovery goals and, when necessary, offer survivor advocacy.
Texans who have unmet needs are encouraged to call the Texas 2-1-1 Helpline for information on services available in the area and referrals to case management services. When they dial 2-1-1 and select a language, they should choose option 1 for “resources.” Information is available in more than 90 languages.
The 2-1-1 Helpline in Central Texas maintains a comprehensive community resource database of services providing assistance with health care, employment, educational, legal, housing, counseling and transportation needs, and much more.
Texans can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov, via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov, or by telephone via FEMA’s toll-free numbers: 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 1-800-621-3362. Operators are available from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
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.