During a recent flood-recovery update press conference, Governor Nikki Haley stated the flood created 741 million dollars in housing losses. Nine months after October’s flood, many South Carolinians have yet to move back into their homes. United Way of the Midlands Senior Director Jennifer Moore shares how nonprofits and volunteers are working to help flood victims recover.
According to the United Way of the Midlands, in Richland County, 383 households are on nonprofit waiting lists because owners cannot afford to make repairs to their flood-damaged homes. The nonprofit is coordinating the Midlands Flood Recovery Group. Comprised of more than 60 partners, the goal of The Midlands Flood group is to weave different service providers together to respond to unmet flood-related needs.
“Our purpose really is to look at groups that are doing rebuild work,” Senior Director Jennifer Moore said. “Some nonprofits can work on maybe smaller projects. Some can work on large repairs that take much more resources.”
Moore said some of the smaller projects happening throughout the area are being done by Habitat for Humanity. Some of these jobs include going into the homes and doing finishing work. SBP, formerly known as Saint Bernard Project, is one organization working on larger projects.
“On the larger scale, one of our higher-capacity organizations is SPB. They’re a group out of Katrina that have been doing rebuild projects across the country. We’re partnering with those and six other groups to actually do rebuilds in the Midlands.”
Moore said through the help of nonprofits, 69 households have been served, but with 383 remaining, more help is needed. “Having resources to help us long-term meet those needs is really critical, right now.”
The Changing Needs of Communities
Every year the United Way runs a campaign to raise funds for critical needs in communities. Molly Brantley is Communications Manager at United Way of the Midlands. She said those needs have been education, financial stability and a focus on health. But lingering unmet, flood- related needs have changed the needs of the community.
“There is a fourth focus now. We’re going to work to meet the needs left by the floods. So now when we go into a company and raise funds, you can give to the flood [recovery] as well,” Brantley said.
According to the United Way of the Midlands, individuals and organizations from 48 states and two countries have donated $1 million dollars to United Way's Flood Relief Fund. But Brantley said more is needed
“$3 million [is needed] to get all of these families back into their homes, at least,” she said.
The organization is currently working on plans to coordinate a flood anniversary event that will also raise awareness about unmet needs of flood victims.