Disaster Recovery – Volusia County in Northeast Florida
The Disaster Event:
In fall 2016, Hurricane Matthew caused catastrophic damage and a humanitarian crisis in Haiti and widespread devastation in the southeastern United States. In Volusia County, Fla., alone, 17,555 households requested FEMA assistance. Eleven months later, Hurricane Irma re-traumatized many Volusia County residents, with 62,621 registering with FEMA.
UCC Disaster Ministries is working with VIND (Volusia Interfaiths/Agencies Networking in Disaster) to address unmet needs through case management services. It is expected that 350 to 500 homes/mobile homes will enter long-term disaster recovery with VIND, estimated at more than $7.5 million.
- UCC Disaster Ministries funded employment of a construction supervisor ($50,000) for the long-term recovery, and contributed another $50,000 to VIND to help meet clients’ needs.
- 216 volunteers in 22 work teams put hours valued at $216,000 repairing or rebuilding 25 homes.
David Heald, Northern Regional Disaster Coordinator for the UCC’s Florida Conference, served as VIND’s operations manager until mid-year. Now he is manager of VIND’s volunteer housing facility.
2018 Funding: $100,000
What’s Next? Donations and volunteers continue to be needed to: Repair/Rebuild homes. Roofing, gutting interiors, replacing insulation, siding, drywall repair and painting, flooring and other interior work as needed.
• Preparation for the trip: “Mission Trips That Matter” by Don C. Richter, Upper Room Books
• On-Site Reflection: “Meeting God in the Ruins: Devotions for Disaster Volunteers.” Free copies may be ordered from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America by calling 800.638.3522 ext. 2580 (ISBN 6-0001-6788-1); pay shipping only.
• Follow-Up Action: Help your local community prepare for possible disaster and response. Be sure your congregation has a plan in case of local disaster (see http://www.ucc.org/disaster_resources). Get to know your UCC Conference Disaster Coordinator and stay involved.
Housing for groups provided at local churches in the county; this is arranged through VIND. Beds and/or cots and kitchen access provided. Groups bring own bedding and prepare own meals. (Some meals may be provided by local churches.) Showers, bathrooms, and lounge room for meetings available in church buildings. FMI, visit www.unioncongochurch.com or contact David Heald, Northern Regional Disaster Coordinator, Florida Conference UCC, Dheald@uccfla.org
Cost: $12/day/person. Less for groups over 12. Costs for case management, building materials, tools, and construction supervision provided through the local long-term recovery committee. Your donations to UCC One Great Hour of Sharing® help make possible the local work of the Long-Term Recovery Committee.
Minimum Age: For volunteers, 16 years with Parental Consent Form. No minimum age for housing.
Group Size: 20 Maximum
Adult to Youth Ratio: Each group must include a minimum ratio of at least 1 adult to every 4 youth of each gender.
Tools: Fully stocked UCC tool trailers are on site.
It is not necessary but groups are welcome bring standard carpentry tools (hammers and cordless screw drivers, etc.). No special tools will be required. Specific questions can be directed to VIND Volunteer Coordinators upon registration. Other Information: Arrive Sunday afternoon and depart Saturday morning. Work: Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Pictured: UCC volunteers with client Marlene (center); dormitory accommodations for volunteers.