BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Stories of hope are happening all across Alabama as the state’s long-term recovery committees help restore families devastated by April’s tornadoes six months ago.
After receiving aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a 63-year-old woman taking care of three young grandchildren needed an additional $2,600 to finish repairs on her home. Members of the Central Alabama Long-Term Recovery Committee (LTRC) pooled their money, manpower and materials to assist her. The Mennonite Disaster Services agreed to provide free labor to make the repairs. The grandmother agreed to contribute $1,000 toward the needed material, the Episcopal Diocese agreed to pay $500 toward materials, and the United Way of Central Alabama agreed to pay the remaining $885.
“This is one of many examples demonstrating how LTRCs coordinate and leverage resources among various volunteer and service agencies to help storm survivors across the state” said Joe Girot, FEMA federal coordinating officer.
LTRCs work to fulfill the remaining needs that some individuals or families have after receiving grants from federal and state disaster aid programs. The maximum program amounts are established by law, but do not always cover the needs of survivors who have lost everything.
The Alabama EMA and FEMA communicate, coordinate, and collaborate with disaster response agencies, volunteer groups and faith-based organizations (none of them are bound by law to any monetary limits) to help these survivors.
As equal partners working together, they form LTRCs to help storm survivors solve problems ranging from debris clean up, to home repair and rebuilding, to housing assistance, to mental health counseling, services that survivors might not otherwise afford.
The mission and focus of LTRCs include:
• Strengthening area-wide disaster coordination by sharing information, simplifying client access and jointly resolving cases with unmet needs; and
• Helping affected families develop a plan to receive adequate assistance for the recovery.
The Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOADs) in Alabama worked to establish Long-Term Recovery Committees to cover 42 counties affected by the April storms. LTRCs that are active in Alabama include:
• Autauga County VOAD/LTRC
• Calhoun County VOAD/LTRC
• Central Alabama LTRC (includes Jefferson, Shelby, Blount and St. Clair counties)
• Cherokee County LTRC
• Choctaw County LTRC, Inc.
• Clarke County VOAD/LTRC (includes Washington County)
• Cullman County LTRC
• Elmore County LTRC
• Etowah County LTRC
• Jackson DeKalb County LTRC
• Lawrence County VOAD/LTRC
• Limestone County LTRC
• Madison County VOAD/LTRC
• Marshall County VOAD/LTRC
• Monroe VOAD/LTRC
• Morgan County VOAD/LTRC
• Northwest Alabama LTRC (includes Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale and Marion counties)
• Tallapoosa County LTRC (includes Coosa County)
• Walker County LTRC
• West Alabama Long Term Recovery Coalition (includes Tuscaloosa, Bibb, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Lamar, Marengo, Pickens and Sumter counties)
• ALVOAD Recovery Committee (Statewide)
As Alabamians try to recover from the April 2011 disasters, many don’t know where to go or who to call for help. It is important that survivors know these organizations – staffed by local neighbors and friends – stand read...