After a catastrophic event, recovery comes in waves. First, comes the crashing force of the immediate needs, like food, water, and shelter, that must be met for the entire affected community. But once power has been restored, debris has been removed, and the community at large has slowly started the return to “normal”, there is still much to be done and other waves to be navigated.
In fact, for survivors whose homes have been destroyed, the journey to a new normal has just begun. Even when they manage to find new lodging, they must slowly begin to replace everything else they lost. To address these issues, The Salvation Army partners with government agencies and other non-profits to pool resources and fund long-term recovery projects as a group.
In Louisiana, this process is ongoing for many residents affected by Hurricane Ida in August of 2021. After months of initial response on the ground post landfall, The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi division has continued to serve affected populations with over $800,000 paid out in long-term recovery and another $200,000 already allocated to approved projects.
Many recipients of long-term recovery assistance were unable to afford homeowners insurance and have very few resources available. Furniture and appliances are often the most requested items along with repairs to damaged but livable homes.
One such survivor is a single mother with one child who lost their home and everything inside it. She was able to secure a new mobile home through Restore LA but had nothing to put inside it. The Salvation Army was able to purchase basic living furniture for them. Below is an excerpt from a thank you letter she sent to her Salvation Army case worker.
“I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for helping me and my baby in our time of need. Your generosity and thoughtfulness have made a great impact in our life, and I am deeply appreciative. Your donation has reminded me of the importance of kindness and compassion in our world. Your willingness to go above and beyond to help me during my time of need after hurricane Ida means more to me than words can express helping us get back into our new home.”
Another case involved a family of five living in a severely damaged home. The interior of their home was completely overrun with mold to the point of being unlivable. The long-term recovery group was able to provide a new roof, HVAC, and mold remediation. Their caseworker recalled the moment he was able present this good news to the client.
“When I first informed the homeowner that her project had been funded by the LTRG including Salvation Army, she was literally ecstatic...She stated how much this meant to her and her family as they have struggled for over two years trying to control the mold from a leaking roof. The fact that her HVAC will finally be fixed means so much. In subsequent conversations she always thanks me and the programs profusely for having such a positive impact on her family’s life.”
The Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi division remains dedicated to recovery from Hurricane Ida. The division was recently able to extend the program another 15 months, committing to over three years of recovery aid. Overall, 3 million dollars have been allocated to Hurricane Ida long-term recovery.
“It is very important to us to be a part of the communities in which we serve,” said William Trueblood, Divisional Disaster Director. “We don’t leave when the immediate needs are met. We are committed to helping Louisiana and its people recover from the long-lasting effects of Hurricane Ida.”