TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — While many individuals and organizations help provide immediate relief after a disaster, it can be challenging to connect impacted communities with resources to plan, support, encourage and finance their long-term recovery. This is where FEMA’s Integrated Recovery Coordination (IRC) organization comes in.
The IRC mission is comprised of a variety of federal agencies and other partners that may be able to identify and assist identifying support for wider recovery needs beyond those eligible for FEMA’s Individual Assistance, Public Assistance and Mitigation programs.
Working with local government and community organizations, IRC facilitates connections to obtain grants and resources that can aid the recovery process in disaster-impacted locations.
Hurricane Michael hit housing in the Florida Panhandle hard, leaving many survivors with limited options for a place to live. IRC worked with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP), a national nonprofit resource that uses donors funding for disaster-related needs.
Habitat for Humanity of Bay County received more than $177,000 for the organization’s Home Repair Program, which provides repairs to the homes of low- to middle-income families.
“It has been a real pleasure working with the IRC, not only in terms of helping make connections, but in accessing information on many funding opportunities to help our community recover,” said Lance Rettig, the organization’s executive director. “A special thanks to them in directly connecting us with some much-needed resources that will specifically help repair homes in Bay County.”
Other groups with housing-focused efforts for Panhandle recovery also benefitted from IRC’s efforts with CDP. Mennonite Disaster Service received a grant for $250,000. The money is earmarked toward building materials for families in need, as referred by local disaster case management and the North Florida Inland Long-Term Recovery Group in rural Jackson and Calhoun Counties.
All Hands and Hearts received $200,000 in a matching grant for the Rebuilding Resilient Communities in the Aftermath of Hurricane Michael program. The funds will be used toward critical repairs and interior work for 18 Bay County homes.
A grant of $100,000 went to Legal Services of North Florida, providing legal support, resources and assistance to survivors through its Hurricane Michael Legal Advisory Program.
A total of $50,000 was awarded to Toolbank to aid in housing recovery efforts in Panama City. The grant covers warehouse space and tools that community organizations can use at no cost for rebuilding efforts.
Other needs also arose in the impacted communities. Be Ready Alliance Coordinating for Emergencies (BRACE) was looking for ways to fund housing for those participating in its Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program. A joint effort with IRC resulted in a $10,000 grant from Airbnb.
“The BRACE team and I have found the IRC team to be made up of caring professionals who are committed to partnering with organizations to assist communities recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Michael,” said Greg Strader, BRACE’s chief executive officer.
“The support and assistance provided by the FEMA IRC team has been instrumental in creating a project to place AmeriCorps VISTA members in communities that need their support in rebuilding community capacity and capability.”
FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters.
For a list of resources available to individuals and businesses affected by Hurricane Michael, visit www.floridadisaster.org/info.
For more Hurricane Michael recovery information, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4399.
Follow FEMA and the Florida Division of Emergency Management on Twitter at @FEMARegion4 and @FLSERT. You may also visit FEMA and the Division’s Facebook pages at Facebook.com/FEMA and Facebook.com/FloridaSERT.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362) 711/VRS - Video Relay Service). Multilingual operators are available.
(Press 2 for Spanish). TTY call 800-462-7585.