West, Texas – Response to Recovery, FEMA To Allow Individual Assistance Grants
Two weeks after the explosion in West, Texas, the initial response phase is beginning its inevitable journey toward the recovery phase. Many families and individuals are still reeling from the shock of the unexpected tragedy, the physical and emotional anguish, and the pain of recovery that lies ahead. Your prayers and financial contributions are still very much needed and welcome.
Many of these distraught survivors are elderly who lived at the assisted living home which was destroyed, families who lost loved ones, and a good number of people who were just barely making ends meet to begin with who are now in crisis.
Our response efforts so far include assistance to 190 families and 500 individuals. We were able to help distribute $13,000 in emergency funds. Other organizations referred clients to us, including the Red Cross and Southern Baptists who escorted clients back to us exclusively to assist with answering questions, providing an ear to listen, and a shoulder to lean on or even cry on.
We continue to work on a hotel voucher program to meet immediate housing needs for survivors and we are assessing our role in the long-term recovery for the survivors in West, including a case management strategy and process to work with survivors.
FEMA To Allow Individual Assistance Grants
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that the emergency disaster declaration for the State of Texas, declared on April 19, has been expanded to allow individuals and households affected by the explosion in McLennan County, access to Individual Assistance grants.
This action makes housing and other assistance available to eligible individuals in McLennan County. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs; medical, dental, and funeral expenses; and personal property, transportation and other forms of assistance to help individuals recover from the effects of the disaster.
Individuals who sustained losses as a result of the explosion in McLennan County can begin applying for assistance by registering online at http://www.disasterassistance.gov, by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY).
***Note about Volunteers:***
Americorps is now coordinating volunteer opportunities for West, Texas recovery. They have already identified people in the community to be ready to enlist help when the time is right. The website for people to sign up to volunteer is volunteertx.org.
As you know, the small town of West, Texas is reeling after the huge explosion at the fertilizer plant. Many of you have asked how you can help, and the LSS Disaster Response (LSSDR) team is working diligently to identify the affected families and the best ways to assist them. Through our network of community partners and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), we have representatives at the scene and are prepared to offer immediate assistance in the following ways:
- Short-Term Emergency Needs:
- Providing gift cards to families with immediate needs of food/shelter/clothing; ongoing until the funds run out.
- Long-Term Response and Recovery:
- Case management services as survivors begin the long process of rebuilding their lives.
- Spiritual/Emotional Care:
- Counseling and spiritual care services to individuals seeking prayerful comfort and emotional support, over the short- and long-term.
There are several ways you can help:
- Make an online donation to LSS Disaster Response to assist with short- and long-term recovery needs.
- Donate blood – Type O Positive and O Negative blood is in demand. Please check your local blood bank for details.
- Prayers for the survivors of this town of 2,700; all of their lives have been touched by this tragedy.
We will keep you informed of the latest developments and our involvement in providing aid to the people of West, Texas through the website. Additionally, you can help us by sharing this information throughout your own networks and on facebook.