United Church of Christ

Hurricane Michael recovery gets going in Florida Panhandle

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$5,000 seed grants from UCC Disaster Ministries will go toward costs for four Hurricane Michael long-term recovery groups in the Florida Panhandle - Liberty (County) Strong, Gadsden (County) Strong, Citizens of Gulf County Recovery Team and the North Florida Inland Long-Term Recovery Group (Jackson and Calhoun Counties).

UCC Disaster Ministries is also supporting recovery in Bay and Washington counties, Fla., including with recruitment of volunteer work teams.

Community-based LTRGs help guide disaster survivors through the recovery process, including mobilizing available resources such as FEMA and SBA grants, insurance payouts and personal financial resources. LTRG case managers look for the unmet needs, prioritizing the most vulnerable survivors, including elderly and disabled residents. Other functions include fundraising, construction and volunteer management, with the goal of stretching resources to help as many people as possible recover.

“Many residents still have blue-tarped roofs that leak when it rains," reported Liberty Strong. "Still others are struggling to feed and clothe their families while trying to pay for repairs to their homes."

Hurricane Michael made landfall as a Category 5 storm Oct. 10, 2018, northwest of Mexico Beach, the most powerful hurricane on record to hit the Florida Panhandle.  

Bay, Washington, Liberty, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson and Calhoun counties were among counties that suffered extensive damage from Michael's heavy rain, high winds and extreme storm surges. Needs include repairing and rebuilding homes - along with spiritual or mental health services, especially for those whose homes have been completely destroyed and are still in need of suitable housing.

Photo courtesy of Rebuild Bay County, of volunteers restoring a home


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