Middlesex County Group To Hold Meeting About Long-Term Hurricane Recovery Efforts

SAYREVILLE — The Middlesex County COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster) and a number of Middlesex County non-profits have been planning the development of an unmet needs table to address anticipated requests for continuing assistance from victims of Hurricane Irene. An important informational meeting will take place on Thursday, Dec. 15, at the Middlesex County Fire Academy in Sayreville from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Church World Service Organization will be presenting information to assist in developing the long term recovery effort, including accessing seed money, developing communication with faith based partners and group training. Interested individuals and agencies are strongly encouraged to participate in this session.

The planning group for the local long term recovery initiative has initially involved representatives from Catholic Charities, United Way of Central Jersey, UMDNJ/UBHC, Alianza, Red Cross, Salvation Army, FEMA and the Middlesex County Office of Human Services and Office of Emergency Management. The Middlesex County COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster) will function as the administrative umbrella for the unmet needs table, which is titled the Middlesex County Long Term Recovery Committee (MCLTRC). Currently the MCLTRC is drafting the policies and procedures for Assistance Protocols, as well as organization bylaws.

The group is intended to be all-inclusive and agencies wishing to participate may contact the Middlesex County Office of Human Services at 1-732-745-4186 or MCLTRC Chair Stuart Grant at UWCJ at 1-732-247-3727. It is particularly important that faith based organizations become involved with the effort since their resources are often the first to be considered during long term recovery efforts.

It is expected that participating agencies will file grant applications, submit funding requests and conduct fund raising to obtain the fiscal resources necessary to provide long term recovery supports. Leadership roles will be available in the areas of organization, communication, grant writing, data base development and management of the data as a tool to assure there is no duplication of resource distribution to residents of hard hit areas.

One of the first steps to be accomplished will be the establishment of a needs analysis in the communities most affected by Hurricane Irene. Once the long-term recovery organization is more formally organized information will be requested from FEMA and other responder agencies involved in the initial recovery efforts. This list will provide an analysis of Middlesex County locations that were adversely impacted and assist in developing various possibilities for conducting the community needs assessment.

Initially, this long term recovery collaborative will exist as a voluntary association of organizations involved in relief, recovery, rebuilding, and community development associated with damages caused by Hurricane Irene. Working with case managers, the organization board and membership will review the assessment of damage, verify the need, assure that duplication of resources does not occur and provide financial or in kind support to qualifying families or individuals.

Long term it is expected that the MCLTRC will remain a functioning part of the Middlesex County COAD and be activated when future disasters requiring long term recovery

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