United Way SELA - New Orleans East Tornado Anniversary

Terri Westerfield, United We Move
Sunday, February 4th
United Way host Kirby Nagle and her guests discuss the long-term recovery efforts on the upcoming anniversary of the tornado disaster that hit New Orleans East on February 7, 2017.

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Welcome all of this edition of the united way of southeast Louisiana's live the united Brady I'm Kirby nickel. United way francs for the health education and financial stability of every person in every community we serve and we have a plan. Our blueprint for prosperity is a laser focused on eradicating poverty with a bold vision of equitable communities. Are all individuals are healthy educated and economically stable. And on the show were covering the programs collaborative initiatives bong terrorism and Ab sixty efforts all aimed at eradicating poverty in southeast Louisiana. Now here today we have some special guest joining me in the studio we've got dolce shepherd. SPP program manager here in new Ramones Jimmy and armor united way of southeast Louisiana's vice president of long term recovery. Valerie Matthews assistant director of disaster management with hands on New Orleans. Talk to stanza. Direct division director rather excuse me act Catholic Charities archdiocese of new roads and Wayne stout director of rebuilding together you ruins. Now we're all here today to focus on an anniversary that's coming up it's not so special in fact. On February 7 2017. A category three tornado. The strongest ever recorded in New Orleans history. Tore crush of mentor highway steered into nearby neighborhoods wrecking hundreds of farms and injuring 33 people. Now survey crews. Rated that tornado as a F three which means wind speeds of more than a 136. Just 165. Miles per hour had significant. Now you folks that as BP dolce identified more than 850 homes affected by the tornado with 245. Sustaining major damage and sadly nearly a third. Of those homeowners whose houses were damaged were likely under insured or on injured. So the folks that are here today in this room are leading the effort. To push funds to excuse me if fund financial gaps in long term recovery effort is clear that the government's financial assistance is likely going to come up short. This is Jimmie we'll start with you for many of these households affected by the tornado this one unexpected emergency may have sent them. Into poverty they've sent them over the marriage and we know. These folks that are living in or near poverty specifically house population you can tell us more about that what what damage can do recovering from the devastating storm. You know Kirby is. A factor which you say that on many people are just one storm one disaster one crisis away from being in poverty. And typically a lot of times what happened is when we do you have Alice population which you alluded to which is. Asset constrained and limited income but yet employed these are people that are working every day that are basically living paycheck to paycheck. And when it a crisis or disaster cars. On out of pocket expenses can be astronomical on confront him literally into I have eggs asked for. Exhausted all resources I have I've had to take all my money out and I just to sustain can you imagine. Losing your home and then having to live and a hotel with no resources. Can you imagine that you have nowhere to live and I know many of us can't because we've been there several natural disasters that have occurred in this area. Well that's what we had as the tornadoes yet so one of the things that united way has been working. With over the last year as we approach this anniversary is that. How we work with rebuild organizations like repellent to gather and as BP and then how to work with long term recovery committees to say. We wanna have. An approach. Where we can try to identifying case manage every family every individual so we work with people as we have here with Tom Catholic Charities. And then as well how do we garner resources and bring people together to say we can build and we can look at long term recovery about how to we react. On quickly so that we can be there immediately. Upon impact and within days following and that's where partnership with hands on New Orleans came into facts are always proud to be apart of the immediate response. And I'll Wear actually crowds really work with these people around this table as we approach to anniversaries and how to we were as close to 300 families that we identified that we're gonna work. So we know we're looking at one year of recovery under that tornado disasters that minorities but realistically these folks. Have already face trauma in a disaster Tom if you will. How damaging can this be when you face these natural disasters really in rapid succession in terms of long term recovery we know it's not each year we know it can be five to 102 more. Via and that's a really good question I'll win. We saw that. We were watching TV and seen this tornado we went to the emergency operations center and asks them. Where you can open up shelters so we knew it is going to be immediate trauma. So we found out the shot was can be in the east so we credit conditions there and sister Marjorie. To provide immediate emotional support you know when it it would traumatize they'll come into the shouted just lost everything. And so we would just it would have provides an emotional support. So I think it is it is good to be president at first port of the early response in terms of law. In and everybody kind of banded together to continue the response to it. That's a quick com or view of those lead early response operations we were. We act actually explained that come into the shelter to do their applications. Because they can move anywhere unless she got to feed my number so it was a lot of just on an in early stage working to shelter. And then now it to happen that resurrection is a Catholic Church really close and impact zone. We were able to setup Pauline earlier response operations. Second harvest them fail the Methodist. All these denominations came in it was with truckloads of food supplies and that to really helped emotional stress that the trauma of that cost to see the community banding together. And so gallery in and dolce if you guys will take me through what those immediate response mechanisms that don't place once a storm. It's a community like it did last February. Well. What the community is immediately hit there's a lot of trauma there's a lot of shock and you know. They can only handle so much information at times. You really have to kind of take him through a few steps diamonds are just getting into shelters always. Three or four complicated process just because they can't stop looking at the destruction. Of their community and homes. And so. Once there aren't shelters the immediate response is to get as many volunteers to take care of the different villages that. There is transport. Through the streets to actually start the recovery. So what parents are actually of abouts. Almost a thousand volunteers to you know served the community in this first steps and days. In the community almost a 200000. Dollars in Phoenix alone just from the removal. Mocking. I mean that's an amazing fact they'll see that the folks in our community often times we hear that may be it's not New Orleans owns or helping lift them out in times of need. But in fact when we're faced with our most severe crisis. Like this tornado we know that our own folks step up and really come to the plate helped volunteers in those immediate times of need me after a show like. Like gallery touched on make SD piece all still many phone calls in so many miles from. Local there'll any end than folks from ulcer in Louisiana and really all over the country that ever. Reaching asking how can we help you know what comedian hotly they know the day of the Cano and and it. The weeks after it people just want to deal. Help India shining light and so that's really where. Volunteers have that that beautiful beautiful and act on and that feeling members and that community and just providing that. That labor at that at that time right after that the attorney Yale you know the family might not be. You know and that the best mindset though they handle on their and a and so volunteers really were amazing immediately after this turning now. Of course when. A disaster strikes folks are called certain to respond immediately because they see the images they see the pictures as their displayed across the media and social media in the press. Definitely. Results and gut wrenching feeling to help but our twelve months out. William what's important for folks and so about that the continued long term need for assistance in this community. Sure that's a great question so. There's disaster response is a long process and with. Pace insurance money year of government money we know that. Eventually there are going to be cases where someone's gonna slip through the cracks and that's what our organization focuses on. It it's no longer in the front remind people aren't thinking about it and if you're not in new loans is you're not driving through a community. You're not seen and of the impact that that tornado had completely decimating. It's Nome miles an area. And so we as organizations have to find those cases. Friend is resources and connects homeowners and families. With the resources to get back and on and so it's a long process the people kind of once is not in out of sight out of mind people aren't thinking about it and that's why it this is a great Africans share that people are still struggling in royalties. So we have. To thank our partners at any U Entergy New Orleans who stepped up big to the plate. Just last year in late 2017 with a 450000. Dollar gift. To support. New Orleans east tornado recovery plan and whatever every organization that represented in this room is playing a part in that plane and what for folks that are listening that want to continue to support this this recovery effort what can they do can they turn to you. Actually you could turn to anybody that sitting at this table whether you wanna pick up a phone and call the united way office and say I still want to help. I know that people are still recovery or few calls on Catholic Charities or he called rebuilding together kickoff. As BP. That that the fact that you have these different organizations and hands on to Sabrina and we got in the fact that you have all of a sitting in the table right now. Is testimony to power all coming together to work together. So when resources become available we are working together to try to put those resource is that the best possible. Place that we can have a were collectively working to rebuild we're collectively working in case management collectively still working on volunteer isn't so. My suggestion would be everybody is. Call you I away call hands Hong Kong Catholic Charities called rebuilding. Asked BP. Because every single one of us and there are others that are still. Working throughout the long term recovery committee call any of us because they're still in need. And with so many families that have been effective and it's going to continue everything does not happen I mean I think Tom hasn't packed with. How long entrants can today and with. Limited number of volunteers that are coming in on it can it can slow recovery. And the fact that we have so many people that don't have resources it did not have insurance Cree eights. A challenge for them to recover because what we rely on and is taking. The dollars that are detonated which we still need not only encourage you call our organizations and I. But we take those dollars we stretcher with Reid organizations I just mentioned or with volunteers. And that's how we can make as far as got further to try to bring people back to some kind of semblance of normalcy. So again today we've got folks joining us here from the community wide effort to support the northeast trader recovery plan. I'm more facing just in a few days that one year anniversary. For the category three tornado that moved through New Orleans east devastating families and homeowners figure out the region so. For anyone that can help me out today where we stand today what's our progress look like on or where we are in the rebuilding efforts. Yeah I think like well we'll image and make if you are driving in Garland east you're gonna see him mix every covering there's some stretches where. Homes have been rebuilt and folks are back to to normal this comes at a site instruction. And then there's parts of the neighborhoods in Ireland peace where. Rick really nothing has been done and so I think for error for all of us here we decide folks and know they if you need help. We're here to help and so. I think. Hopefully that manes reminded that there's some folks there at this DL and so we we wanna her right that's the part because we are seeing Matt. Right eighty and that they'll get a recovery in. And folksy thing for anyone out there listening that does need assistance that easiest number to remember to call is 211 that's our local Movielink. Resource line they can help you connect with these wonderful organizations that are here in their room today if you still need assistance recovering from this February 2017. Tornado. So for anyone that is listening it and wants more information about what the process looks like from recovering who can take me through. What a typical case management. Role looks like in this process. Sure. We even have encased manages. After the early response we we will. The pastor at resurrection. Was very close to a high impact zone so we have two case managers they're so. EBay should do a basic intake with them. And now we're in the so the longer term recovery phase so we're try and create in the long term recovery group. But we're trying to figure out what's their unmet need at this point we've we've been able to serve over three of four people with immediate need. Now we have about fifty cases I don't know long term need so we got to figure out to begin any kind of resources from the noise any type of all the resources and and determine the unmet need so mow most of it's a process. Could also look in that the site. Do and cost estimate of how much it would cost to fix that. And then working would draw everybody to gather similar project we've been together united saints all the security kind of come together say okay. I can each of us put additional resources to meet Danny. And is there anything. I mean for strokes should they be concerned are hesitant at all I know in some instances may be sometimes getting assistance from outside can be scary a little bit intimidating or maybe for some even. They're scared they're afraid to be ashamed that they need help but that's really not the case at all William hasn't. And yet there's no reason it wanted to be ashamed in this is a situation where it's dangerous to be living in some of these conditions and we are still seeing people that are. You know frankly from Katrina living in unsafe conditions in our organization provide services to those that qualify. A completely new costs and so there isn't absolutely. No harm in calling one of organizations saying hey do I qualify for your services. How can I get some help because this is a team effort and so we is organizations. Want people to come back. As stronger and safer and living in now the house's. And so it's important that people realize that and make the call and pick up the phone because there are resources and our community to help them. Now dolce and you guys have some great information on SBP's website about some of the challenges or issues at home in ours may face. Specifically as it relates to contractor fraud I know were offer mayor with that we hear whether it's at our hurricane or tornado or flooding unfortunately face quite a bit of that in our region in the last few years. I'm so what are some of those challenges and issues homeowners need to be aware of and when maybe we've got safe restores are here like folks in this room. Yeah for sure I think. Readings due a contractor's estimate and understanding what their contract says can be very confusing and dairy hard to interpret. So I dissident encouraged hoaxes they're looking for contractors. Hired there and shares something scenes. You know little off to again reach out to our innovation and he can help guide and did a process they think unfortunately. There are you know. Contractors out there he would do crayons that looks that are in their own liberal vulnerable times and so we don't want anyone says. And be taken at an edge in mixed use that money that they have that they want he's very old and. And so I know we we saw some folks have just recently come home and are still continuing to come home. I think we had one over the Christmas season. A feeling that I was fortunate to meet which are that foresees an and what a special family they are I don't know who wants to. Cheryl a bit more on their story but I think that's the feeling it's the epitome. Kind of some of the Chandra talking about today you've been hit with Katrina. I think there was this tornado you're still continually trying to get back on your feet become financially stable she can move toward a more prosperous future. Yes the dirty actually just visited with them again last week in there there on the day and very happy there afford dogs and their their kids and everything. On and yeah had they bear family like many families in Ireland these two. Had to make that tough choice between what angster rented to carry and you know I think and you islands are more familiar with. But breaking news they'll likely to carry flood insurance and not carry homeowners insurance and this tornado happened and flood insurance inning and help. Four. Attorney L. And I think that that's found in common trend we see as VP season a lot of common as we meet art that that choice between what insurance to carry because there. Income limits them. And Jimmy need you talked about a little earlier but that Alice population it's over 50%. In New Orleans parish that means. Then over more than the majority of folks in our area. Don't have the ability to say for these types of disasters and and natural storms and tornadoes life. They down and I think many people are community. I understand that our synthetic and adding to that because we know that. There is. Many people that just don't have it passed it they're making choices everyday between paying their gas dollar light Miller opening. You know their kids in the school uniforms that they can go to school. Or on paying interest on their cars that can get to work for things like that so. It is not always a luxury. Or becomes a luxury in many cases for families to even afford insurance and Josie sent mean creators are normally not something that we're dealing way. So that Alice population and and the group that we're talking about I mean they are struggling but if you look even Christians the house population that are in poverty living in poverty. They couldn't be that one disaster away and that's why it's so important that we have groups coming together this week. Talk about this anniversary we have Catholic Charities and rebounding and that's BP and hands on that as a collaborate ever come together to say how we fill those gaps that Tommy mentioned just. A little earlier about identifying those and it needs. And here we are one year later and we still have people that were identifying as we work with and say there's one neat and it can be anything from actually still don't have a hunk or eighty. They've gotten their roofs fixed in their living in her house. With no sheet rock where they have sheet rock and I have no appliances so it can change from family to family and individual. I also like as Tom mentioned earlier touching on the factor in the national. Told that it takes on families as she struggles to recover here it is a year later for those that haven't and it looks or characters. There's an emotional vulnerability that the case managers Catholic Charities address line. Yet the he had a really good point that human relationship. Slowed journey and and in the case men's we have. Have all been through these last themselves so. You know all of us probably evil ones have been through it. So debt that certain companionship. And Janet long is certainly very very important helps with the trauma. Again folks we're got organizations from the community joining us today as we look forward to just a few days away from the February 7 2017. Tornado anniversary that hit New Orleans east and tragically. Damage about 850 homes. 250 bush took on severe damage as we sit today William what's our biggest challenge still within forty your own. Sure I think that the biggest challenge that we're facing right now as identifying enough resources. The super ride help and so we have to situations we have we wanna tell people hey we have resources we can now. I believe that we then need to connect those resources of those cases and so if somebody calls and asks for help we need to be able to deliver. And so that that this challenges. Being able to meet all the needs of all those homeowners. Am wall so. Being able to meet the needs of the community at large. And. Salary for folks that want to volunteer still wanting gauging support the recovery efforts what's the best way for them to do so. Well well. Recently we have launched a friend you know online database for volunteering. It connects our volunteers humorous and winds. Many many local partners we have. It's growing every day. I know that SGP owns refineries are on as well as our own. Efforts. And you can do a weekly thing you can eaten. Pretty much do anything you want in the community. And it's act volunteer dot hands on. New nonstop work and you know it's it's it's all encompassing thing and if you do any. Run us through that URO one more time salary it's volunteered dot hands on north island staff work. Fantastic so folks there is still definitely need a year out for forehands on. Folks help from the community whether it's in sweat equity. Or. With monetary donations again you can visit web sites. For folks like united way Catholic Charities. Rebuilding together New Orleans and as BP all of folks that are here today are helping in the process now here's a sad unfortunate fact. You guys are getting pretty good at helping. And in recovery disaster health and long to recover we faced. Are unfair share. A disasters in this area and I think what's saddest folks are becoming numb to you driver and a community and and to see the devastation that's the heiress in the long term effects that devastation. Is not something new. I think the point is I think it's one of the reasons it. That we were we say and we have these shows where we talk about the anniversary a lot of it is to remind people that although. As as Williams at an early night driver ray count and and you see some recovery you're going to see workplaces have not so it's very important we continue to talk about it. And that everybody is empathetic and says you know I need to do something if I can't whether you're gonna volunteer with hands on her with. On rebuilding together with this year you try to figure out what Catholic Charities how you can do some things with united way we're encouraging you its we're not finished. We we need to put in more effort and we need to continue to raise the resources. And we need to look into ourselves and say. And if that was me. You know I would. Hope that someone would reach out a hand to help me and so that's important for us and remind people as we sit here today that's why we're talking about it we still need to finish recovering. And for dolce if you can't just take us where we stand today with some of the project that you all have going on right now in New Orleans east. Yes we have on the handful of houses that are actively under construction that volunteers that are coming into town are working on and then. Many homes that are it in our cue to start construction so. Like aliens that are out that my career. Continue to identify any homeowners that need assistance and matching them what the appropriate you know funding sources that work for their needs. Fantastic and I make sure folks who aren't listening if you do need assistance yourself the easiest way. To get in contact with with a right agency is going to be dialing 211. That's a whole free point four hour line that's going to be able to connect to the resources and help. I think any of the things we talked about four hinted that. Is yes there's help and assistance to build your home Yasser emotional issues that we may be able to connect you with some mental health services but what are some of the agencies other organizations that were connecting people with to make sure they have been there since they need Tom I know you're you you got some great resources on your website. Yeah we're all at this point we have the two case manages that'll kill off readable aboard or an offer Hammond and east. And know right now we work in any building materials they made need some type of food assistance will work its second harvest. We've worked prevail in the past found that east. Who goes and the basic partners that we are working on weed the good point we still do some mental health referrals. So this is we or provide that type of case man that would normally do. And one thing I think is unique or on the topic of mental health services. You know when we saw Nate or what Nate that wasn't really. Approach our area just last year there really wasn't PT EST that returns for folks about fifty Katrina. And so what's so unique about this tornado is there was no warning there is no preparation it's not something our folks are used to seeing how does that change that response time. You know. As the recovery community we we really look at what we've done in the past we try to learn from it. And it and I think we always try to work better in Noah is an unfortunate another one's gonna hit at some point. You know so I do think. I was in recovery community this some strains and and and rallying around him. And connected us together some new people of common and some hope people like me have been around forever. So I do think there recover community has a certain strains and it. That can lend to the lot of community and me we can be examples that Lou we we've been through it we we have some experience with this while we know in general what to do. So but that we have to pray a lot. And work hard could. You mean if you will take us there one last time just help us understand. Why these storms are particularly difficult for an area where the majority of folks live in or near poverty. How did the role is to recover when you don't have that safety net savings in place. Yes so we're talking again about Alice population which stance for asset constrain limited yet employed on. And and basically these are people that are living every day that one disaster one crisis. Can. Plummet and into poverty. And you know when you look at people that are working. On that are constraint with their income that don't have choices to say oh I can say 10120% of fine and con. And put that in his savings account for a rainy day or for disaster. These are people that are making choices and painless and initials and make choices on. I have to pay for my child I have to pay for war. Interest in my car need paper food and and they're living paycheck to paycheck. And so when these disasters strike. It can be extremely devastating because they are there are now homeless. There their safety net of where they hat with a roof over their head or they were Rangers the buildings where they were living become. On destroyed and they have nowhere to go in can you imagine. Being a renter for instance and saying I've lost my place to live and I I live from paycheck to paycheck how to I find. 12100 dollars war and a deposit on a new apartment Cadillac I'm in new deposits or electrical. And utilities so it becomes a struggle and that's where these other organizations command and that's where. We continue to work in our community help solve poverty and address issues that face through poverty everyday well. She mentioned that we've got fantastic guests here again today as we wrap tells you Shepperd with as BP program manager here in New Orleans. Jimmy Dahmer who you just heard speak with the united way the vice president of long term recovery. Larry Matthews assistant director of disaster management plans on New Orleans talk stanza. Division director for Catholic Charities archdiocese New Orleans and links style as well director rebuilding together in the worlds where thank you all again today. As we look toward the February 7 anniversary and the new orleans' eastern and for more information please visit united voice to a dot org and follow us on FaceBook Twitter and answer Graham are searching for the handle united way Sheila. As always we encourage you to join united way give volunteer. Advocates and connect. United way of southeast Louisiana has a blueprint for prosperity across all southern parishes we serve from the West Bank to the North Shore. We're finding every resource we came to build equitable communities. United we faced Harvard in southeast Louisiana. No matter the obstacles no matter the odds we fight for the health education and financial stability of every person. And every community because change doesn't happen alone. And hope isn't. A one man band. We have one life to live to look better we must live united.