HHDR Prepares For Increase in Flood Recovery Cases
At the end of June, Hearts and Hands Disaster Recovery (HHDR), the nonprofit in charge of long-term, disaster case management services following October’s flood, had over 2300 open cases. The nonprofit is connecting with more flood survivors during community outreach events. Executive Director Falon Alo said as more communities learn about HHDR services, she expects the number of open cases to grow tremendously.
“We are still conducting intakes. We have not closed the intake process down because we know we are just getting the word out to folks that we are here to help.”
In recent weeks, the organization has conducted intakes on flood victims in Lake City, Florence, Kingstree, Georgetown, Sumter and Columbia.
"We will see anywhere from 10 to 30 people at an event. We’re starting to see higher turnouts." Alo said. The executive director said HHDR’s industry standard is for case managers to be assigned about 35 cases. “In most areas, we're already well over that number."
Alo said HHDR has requested additional support to ensure there is enough staff to meet the needs of the community.
“If we overwhelm our case managers with too many cases, then they can’t be in regular contact with their clients and that’s not fair to the client,” she said.
In addition to Georgetown and Lexington counties, Alo said, there is a large majority of residents in Richland County that haven't gone through HHDR's intake process yet.
"Based off the number of people we know applied for FEMA assistance in the early days after the flood, it’s safe for us to say that there are a large population of people in Richland County who most likely will have unmet needs."
Alo said as HHDR continues to assist those with unmet needs, it is very important for residents to understand what long-term recovery looks like.
“We’re trying to educate everybody. When we say long-term recovery, we don’t expect to be finished in a year. Long term recovery normally means anywhere from two to five years of disaster.”