From SOS: Starting Over Strong (S.O.S.) Vermont teams now serving the communities most impacted by Tropical Storm Irene continue to collaborate with state and town officials, as well as with other flood-recovery service providers, to bring assistance to Vermonters affected by the 2011 flooding. Some of the same town officials, police, and firefighters who acted as first responders back in August are continuing to contribute to recovery efforts by connecting S.O.S. Vermont workers with families in need of support. Long Term Recovery Groups, case managers, and S.O.S. Vermont teams are working together to assess the continuing needs of the community as a whole.
Many Vermont flood victims have received help and are moving on, but there are still individuals and families struggling, and in need of assistance. Whether its crisis counseling support, like that being provided by S.O.S. Vermont, the cleanup efforts of family and neighbors, or financial assistance from a disaster relief organization, the recovery process continues for many. While the strength of Vermonters who have been able to move on is worth recognizing, it is also important to acknowledge the needs and continuing struggle of those who have not yet recovered.
Even with all of the help and services being provided to survivors of the flood there is still much work to be done to help people get back on their feet. There are numerous resources that can help people transition into their “new life” after the flood. For example:
- Vermont Society of CPA’s has formed a task force to offer free or reduced fee tax preparation and consulting services to survivors of the 2011 flooding. Contact Carolyn Stevens, CPA, at email@example.com with any questions.
- Seasonal Fuel Assistance – www.mybenefits.vt.us.gov
- Vermont State Housing Authority (VSHA) also offers a housing assistance program in which eligible participants are awarded a voucher to assist with rent. Visit www.vsha.org for more information on this and a number of other helpful programs.
- Long Term Recovery Groups –Local groups are meeting to coordinate long term recovery efforts around the state.
- FEMA Helpline: 1-800-621-FEMA (TTY 1-800-462-7585) or download: http://www.fema.gov/pdf/assistance/process/help_after_disaster_english.pdf for a guide in assisting individuals with requirements, documentation, and processes
- Community Actions Agencies – Go to this website for services regarding job training, affordable housing options, and support: http://humanservices.vermont.gov/community-partners/cp-community-action
More resources and educational materials to assist those affected by Tropical Storm Irene can be found at S.O.S. Vermont’s website, www.startingoverstrongvermont.org, or through their toll-free number at 1-855-767-8800.