In February 2012, Springfield Community Together Long Term Recovery Group commissioned the Christian Reformed Worldwide Relief Committee (CRWRC) to perform a community-wide Needs Assessment – a survey of residents affected by the tornado – in Springfield neighborhoods damaged by the June 1, 2011 tornado.
Springfield Community Together (SCT) compiled a spreadsheet of about 1,000 known tornado survivors, based on services provided by various member organizations. SCT mailed postcards to survivors in advance, to inform them about SCT and the CRWRC’s canvassing efforts.
From April 11-18, CRWRC volunteers performed the Needs Assessment by going door-to-door and staffing walk-in centers to determine the unmet needs of tornado survivors, such as housing, home repairs, debris removal, and employment.
The Survey Statistics Report from the CRWRC gives SCT a more detailed understanding of what people need and how much those needs cost. This forms the basis for our future efforts and fundraising needs.
1. Who still has unmet needs from the June 1, 2011 tornado?
· CRWRC volunteers made 3,796 points of contact, including canvassing and walk-in center visitors.
· Approximately 800 survivors stated they had no unmet needs.
· 96 survivors completed the Needs Assessment survey, identifying their unmet needs.
· SCT has a complete list of streets and homes covered by CRWRC volunteers, with notes about each personal contact made. This list does not contain confidential information.
· This is just the beginning. SCT case workers and staff will add future respondents to the database as they endeavor to assist tornado survivors.
2. What are survivors' unmet needs?
The Survey Statistics Report gives a good snapshot of the information CRWRC collected. Immediate takeaways are:
· At this time, CRWRC estimates Total Recovery Costs at $995,467, based on the 96 people who completed the survey. More survivors continue to come forward, especially as the one-year anniversary draws close.
· CRWRC used local construction material and labor costs to arrive at the estimate of $934,167 needed in construction repairs. These figures are based on using paid labor.
· Forty-three survivors reported a combined total of nearly $73,000 in estimated construction costs NOT covered by insurance.
· Fifty-three insured survivors reported a combined $861,417 in costs NOT covered by insurance. This represents an average of $16,250 in out-of-pocket expenses for each household or residential property.
· Of the 96 survivors surveyed, 78 had no insurance for home appliances, furniture and other household contents destroyed by the tornado.
· Many people need major or minor roof repairs. No one stated a need for a complete rebuild; however, 10 months after the tornado, many residents have already rebuilt their homes, or are in the process of doing so.
3. How will Springfield Community Together help?
To address these needs, SCT needs appropriate funding to cover staffing costs through December 31, 2012. Staff members will first refer clients to local agencies with funds for disaster relief (for example, HAP Housing still has funds for furniture replacement). Staff will also coordinate volunteer skilled and unskilled labor, needed for home repair projects.
· SCT’s case workers will help survivors secure or replace household items, such as furniture for the newly rehoused or for those replacing damaged items.
· SCT will work with volunteer, skilled, licensed, insured and certified organizations experienced in Disaster Recovery. Organizations like The Brethren Mennonites, CRWRC, United Methodists, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief can help us repair homes. Using volunteer skilled and unskilled labor brings costs down.
· SCT has used some grant funding to hire a licensed Construction Manager and a Project Manager, as well as a Volunteer Manager, to help us coordinate all this work. SCT will continue to need volunteer help to clean up debris.
· Personal needs such as stress relief, financial assistance and insurance are still high. SCT will work with local organizations, like MassSupport Network and Behavioral Health Network, to assist with stress relief. SCT will offer assistance to survivors who need help with financial and insurance needs, as resources allow.
For more information, contact: Steven Abdow, Spokesman
Office: (413) 737-4786 ext. 21