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The aftermath of the September floods continues to affect the lives of many in our mountain communities. As much as we would like to see a full recovery by now, we must recognize that, like the wildfires of 2012, recovery happens in stages.
The initial disaster response focused on the important work of addressing immediate needs of those forced out of their homes. The Red Cross, Salvation Army, Larimer Humane Society, Serve 6.8, House of Neighborly Service, Crossroads Ministry of Estes Park, and a host of other organizations provided that immediate response, which included food, shelter, clothing, and other basic needs.
The long-term recovery effort is the next stage in the process. It is meant to help survivors develop a recovery plan, identify resources they may be eligible to receive, and identify unmet needs that are necessary for recovery. The fundraising accomplished by the Community Foundation provides grants to nonprofits giving direct support, while the long-term recovery funding focuses on meeting the unmet needs of families and individuals. The funds jointly are a very effective way to support the restoration of our communities.
Organizing the recovery of a disaster of this size and scope is no small task. The Long-Term Recovery Group for Larimer County Floods is comprised of over 100 representatives of national, state, and local organizations, and concerned citizens.
Since the group's first meeting in October, significant progress has been made. We have been able to reach several hundred individuals and families impacted by the flooding. Hundreds of volunteers from around the nation have been connected with restoration and clean-up projects. Several working committees are addressing various aspects of the recovery, including case management, community outreach, construction management, housing, unmet needs, and volunteer management.
Case managers have been trained, and an application and review process has been developed to ensure responsible use of donor dollars. A case management office in Loveland is helping families develop a recovery plan and access available funds. The Recovery Distribution Center has been relocated to the Outlets at Loveland to continue to provide donated furniture and other items to flood survivors.
All of this has been achieved by individuals who, for the most part, are volunteering their time and energy to help local families recover.
The Long-Term Recovery Fund for Larimer County Floods is appropriately named. The generous donors to this fund were keenly aware that their gifts would not be responding to immediate needs, but instead supporting families on their long road to back to stability and recovery.
100% of the individual and business contributions to the Long-Term Recovery Fund go directly to help families in Larimer County. As the fiscal agent, United Way does not retain any fees to cover our administrative and processing costs.
We recognize that there is still much work to be done and many families to help. Our experience with the wildfires and other disasters tells us that we will be working with these recovery issues for the next 18 months to two years. United Way and the partners of the Long-Term Recovery Group will continue to stand by the flood survivors on their journey back to stability.
Larimer County is a shining example of a community that is dedicated to helping its neighbors through the long haul. Please join me in thanking the thousands of donors and hundreds of dedicated individuals and organization committed to the long-term recovery efforts in Larimer County.
Copyright 2015 United Way of Larimer County