LTRC receives community training
Members of the tornado Long Term Recovery Committee received training and ways to help the community during a Thursday session.
Consultant Liz McDevitt with United Methodist Committee on Relief advised that while everyone wants things to move quickly in the recovery process, it’s not always possible. Committee members need to make sure the resources and allocations are used appropriately as time goes on.
Communication is key to the whole situation and keeping the community informed on what to expect, McDevitt explained. There are several phases to the recovery process with Jacksboro heading from the immediate relief into a recovery phase.
“Recovery is not a quick thing,” MdDevitt said. “At this time reality hits and people begin to suffer from disillusionment. People begin to feel iniquities and disparities their situation which is why communicating well is so important.”
The local committee is in the process of hiring case workers to go and contact homeowners affected by the storm and see how and if they can be helped. Numbers provided by Jack County said 37 homes were completely destroyed and 89 heavily damaged in the storm.
What’s important to note, McDevitt said, is that the community as a whole “owns” the disaster and survivors are responsible for aiding in their recovery.
“They own their recovery and are responsible for it,” McDevitt said. “Getting into pockets of people that are under represented and need the help will be important for the case workers.”
For the survivors to own their recovery, they need to come and share their needs and wants with the case workers when they’re asked to. Case workers are expected to be hired and trained within the next 4-6 weeks and be on the streets in early July. In the first round of interviews with county officials, wrong names and addresses were given.
“Healing is what happens when survivors know they’re not alone,” McDevitt said. “People need to be honest, however, with the people who are trying to help.”
Getting the community involved in the recovery is important. Getting young people involved will teach them valuable life skills they can use down the road.
“You’re at a stage where this will help re-engage the community,” McDevitt said.
The Small Business Administration has also been working with home and business owners to get them back on their feet. As of June 2, 14 disaster home loans have been approved for a total of $853,700 with two disaster business loans for a total of $50,000. If a person qualifies, interest rates range from 1.4% to 3%.
The disaster loan outreach center at the courthouse remains open Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. until further notice. Agents are working one on one with community members.
The committee will continue organizing itself and meet again June 9.