St. Croix Long-Term Recovery Group

by St. Croix Foundation for Community Development
St. Croix Long-Term Recovery Group
St. Croix Long-Term Recovery Group
St. Croix Long-Term Recovery Group
St. Croix Long-Term Recovery Group
St. Croix Long-Term Recovery Group
St. Croix Long-Term Recovery Group

The spirit and resiliency of a people are most strongly on display in the aftermath of a disaster. As we recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the unity of the community is vital towards the achievement of a clear and concerted vision.

The St. Croix Long-Term Recovery Group (LTRG) is a cooperative body that is made up of representatives from faith-based, non-profit, government, business, and other organizations working within St. Croix to assist individuals and families as they recover from Hurricane Maria.

The goal of the LTRG is to unite recovery resources with the community needs in order to ensure that even the most vulnerable in the community recover from the disaster.

The LTRG officially formed under the fiscal sponsorship of the St. Croix Foundation for Community Development in 2015. Under the guidance of FEMA and the American Red Cross, members formed committees to carry out the work of the organization.

The year of the pandemic, 2020, is in the books! We faced new challenges, new obstacles, new norms, and finished the year with much accomplished, stronger community partnerships, increased coordination with government agencies, and a renewed commitment to our beloved island home.

In this year of quarantines, hand sanitizer and mask-wearing, we celebrated new partnerships with Frederiksted Twin Lions Club, Mario's Water Crystal, Guayabal Foundation, St. Croix Boys and Girls Club, Broadband VI, Flemings' Transport, Designs by Regal, Project Hope, Catholic Charities, Mutiny Island Vodka, and Community First. We strengthened our work with FEMA, VITEMA, Dept. of Health, Dept. of Human Services, Dept. of Public Works, the Office of Disaster Recovery, and AARP.

We met needs by providing water, masks, and hand sanitizers to senior communities. We provided fresh produce to vulnerable populations. Our youth filled sandbags and our members helped distribute them to the community. We provided more than 500 hurricane prep kits to seniors in St. Croix. We raised $11,856.17 between 28 local businesses and 11 individual families. And we granted $98, 130.84 to 22 faith-based organizations.

We worked with our sister islands to bring the VI Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) back in good standing, with updated bylaws and newly elected officers from both districts.

We are grateful for the support of the St. Croix Foundation for Community Development through their fiscal sponsorship and to our wonderful partners at GlobalGiving and Island Spirit Fund for their continued financial support.

In the coming year, we will continue to transition from our Long Term Recovery Group status to the St. Croix COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster) as we turn our focus to preparing for all hazards that could impact our island.

With gratitude for allowing us to serve the St. Croix community and our sister islands, the staff of the St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group:

Jay Rollins, Executive Director for National & Regional Relationships

Delia Richardson, Executive Director for Community Engagement

Christina Joseph, Executive Assistant

Rosalie Javois, VISTA

Dametria Douglas, VISTA

DISASTER CASE MANAGEMENT

Disaster Case Managers (DCMs) are the life-line for disaster recovery in helping families access resources to recovery. During this reporting period, 101 clients were served, including two new enrollees into the program. Services continue to focus on providing financial assistance, service referrals, advocacy, and comprehensive goal setting. The program aims to attract residents whose homes are still in need of repair from damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 to assist them with any help they may need for a return to normalcy and maneuvering the requirements of different funding opportunities.

Twenty-four cases were closed this reporting cycle. Service coordination contributed to one long-standing client finally accessing a new apartment through Section 8. This disabled client was referred after the hurricane when the landlord increased rent beyond the capacity to pay while refusing to make storm-related repairs. With the threat of homelessness looming due to the expiration of the state of emergency for eviction expiring later this year, the DCM team found a funding source to pay a portion of the moving fees, enabling the client to move.

There are currently 54 clients awaiting the Envision Tomorrow program, which provides home repairs through a federally funded program. Progress has been made in acquiring information on the steps to approve home repairs through this program. We anticipate these clients being able to continue to move toward restoration, with DCM support and guidance. One family member spoke fondly of the DCM that helped her mother recover from the storm damage:

“Mother's home was severely damaged by Hurricane Maria and despite the damages, she was forced to continue to live in the dwelling. She is a senior and appreciates her independence but struggled to go through the recovery process. She had been living in the damaged home since the hurricane and we feared for her health because of the extent of the damages. We pursued all the available avenues we could find but did not get any solution. Our DCM was able to obtain funds for the necessary repairs to make the home comfortable, safe, sanitary, and secure and our mother was able to regain her life and independence."

REBUILD PROGRAM

The pandemic forced us to shut down our volunteer rebuild committee. Our last team left on April 4, 2020. With the help of Lutheran Disaster Services reconstruction staff and My Brother's Workshop staff and youth, they were able to complete two additional homes. The program officially closed on June 26.

Our sincerest thanks and gratitude to Mr. Chris Finch of Lutheran Social Services for chairing this committee and working with all the volunteers that came to support our efforts. They were able to accomplish rebuilding 71 homes through the program.

UNMET NEEDS

The Unmet Needs Committee fills a critical role in disaster recovery. When a Disaster Case Manager has exhausted all resources available to a beneficiary and needs are still not met, the Unmet Needs Committee steps in to fill the gap.

With the closing of the Rebuild Program, funding was shifted to the Unmet Needs Committee to continue to support our clients. In 2020, we were able to fund 11 cases through funding from Cane Bay Cares, CFVI, and GlobalGiving totaling $202,575.75. Here are two examples of cases that were funded:

Case 1 is a 77-year-old disabled St. Croix resident that has been living in a home severely damaged by Hurricane Maria for the past three years. This client is in poor health and legally blind. The client sustained total roof damage that resulted in massive leaks throughout the home and damage to the windows, doors, and tiled floors. The electrical wiring throughout the home sustained major damage from water entering the circuitry. Although some progress has been made, the home still has significant repairs that need to be completed to make the home livable, safe, sanitary, and secure. The Unmet Needs Committee will provide funding for the contractor fees to repair the electrical system in the home, replace damaged windows and exterior doors, and repair cracks in the interior load-bearing walls.

Case 2 is a 52-year-old St. Croix retired senior resident that sustained major damage to their home during Hurricane Maria. The damage included total loss of the roof, damaged kitchen, bathroom, windows, and floors due to the home being flooded. All appliances and furniture inside the home were destroyed. The home is still without a functioning kitchen. The Unmet Needs Committee will provide funding for the contractor to install kitchen cabinets and a sink.

YOUTH COMMITTEE

The Youth Committee's fearless chair, Xawntoia Franklin, and her committee have a mission to include youth voices in the recovery process-for the youth, by the youth.

Three LTRG Youth Committee (YC) members, twelve Disaster Preparedness Ambassadors (DPA), and five community members participated in the St. Croix Children's parade on January 3, 2020. Their parade entry consisted of a dance routine, a truck with DJ, props depicting various disaster preparedness items (eg. First aid kits, flashlights, bleach, bottled water, etc.). DPAs handed out first aid kits and shouted out a newly formed slogan that 'Preparedness doesn't start in May it starts from Fete'.

The LTRGYC hosted biweekly meetings from January through June 2020 in the hopes of hosting a Youth Opportunity Fair in May 2020. Unfortunately, due to COVID, the island went into an island-wide shutdown and the YC and DPA were forced to pivot to implementing virtual strategies in order to provide support to youth quarantined at home. During March 2020 - June 2020, DPA produced five 1:00 minute videos that were posted to social media (eg. TikTok, lnstagram, Facebook etc). Produced videos covered staying safe during a pandemic and disaster preparedness protocols. The videos were viewed hundreds of times and increased traffic to the LTRG's social media pages while sharing important information. While virtual meetings continued throughout the summer, meetings consisted of procedural housekeeping issues and supporting DPA as they navigated their way to a new normal.

The LTRGYC members suffered a series of personal losses that led to a hiatus of meetings in September and October. Meetings resumed in November with FEMA Corps participating in the most recent virtual meeting hosted on November 19, 2020.

WELLNESS

The Wellness Committee started 2020 off strong by recognizing faith organizations who had participated in activities and projects planned by the Wellness Committee and/or in collaboration with our partners. Certificates were printed, sleeved, and presented at 2 LTRG Townhalls. We planned an additional Meet and Greet/VOAD Informational Meeting to distribute the remainder of certificates but were required to postpone due to Covid-19 restrict ions.

Due to Covid-19, much of our focus changed to Wellness Check-in Calls/emails to faith leaders to encourage, assess needs, inform of community needs, announce available training/workshops/resources, and facilitate collaborative efforts. We also began focusing more intently on the mental health needs of the community, which seemed to be magnified by Covid-related circumstances.

Many new collaborative relationships were started or deepened, additional faith leader contacts were made, workshops and various events were promoted and even attended by committee members, many plans were formulated, but modified and often eventually postponed due to Covid-19 and related issues. The committee continued to meet 1-2 times monthly, primarily via Zoom.

CONCLUSION 

As we said before, the work in 2021 will not slow down! Please help us continue the work through spreading the word, attending our virtual town hall meetings, volunteering on a committee, and monetary donations.

We are grateful and proud of the work that has been accomplished, and we look forward to continuing to serve in 2021.

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Our Youth Ambassadors filled 300 sandbags!
Our Youth Ambassadors filled 300 sandbags!

Connecting, Engaging, and Equipping Residents with Resilience Preparedness

The LTRG offers free workshops to local organizations and congregations seeking to equip their members with preparedness for potential disasters. This quarter, two virtual workshops titled Preparedness Is Personal; Preparedness Is Us” were conducted for approximately 30 participants. The workshops' goal is to promote a cultural change from one of reaction to one of preparedness--not only for hurricanes but for any disaster that could come our way.

Our Youth Ambassadors, along with the LTRG team, partnered with the Department of Public Works in August to fill sandbags in anticipation of the 2020 Hurricane Season. More than 300 bags were filled!

Collaboration is the Key
In partnership with Guayabal Community Foundation, Inc., a member of the Puerto Rican Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (PR VOAD) in Puerto Rico, the LTRG linked a COVID-19 Community Food Distribution Drive to participants in the community. One hundred donated boxes filled with cheese, butter, milk, fresh produce (celery, tomatoes, bananas, mangoes, bags of apples, potatoes, figs), and 10 pounds of chicken were distributed to over 150 families, as some of the boxes were split and shared.

Many of the recipients served are cancer patients, elderly residents, single parents with children, and families still living under blue tarps from the 2017 Hurricane Maria. Distribution took place throughout several areas on St. Croix, reaching from the East to the West end of the island.

Caring for the most vulnerable of our population is a top priority for the St. Croix LTRG team.  We partnered with AARP Virgin Islands, the St. Thomas Long Term Recovery Group, Love City Strong in St. John, the VI VOAD, and the Department of Human Services to assemble and distribute 885 Emergency Preparedness Kits for our senior population territory-wide. The kits included flashlights, first aid kits, a whistle to signal for help, dust masks, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, insect repellent, an emergency blanket, and toilet paper. Local businesses and families rallied around this project with monetary contributions and assembly support to provide these supplies throughout the territory. The distribution per island was as follows: 500 seniors on St. Croix, 260 Seniors on St. Thomas, 125 Seniors on St. John. Each Program Manager on each island distributed the kits to seniors individually to avoid mass gatherings and promote safe social distancing during COVID-19.

Disaster Case Management
Disaster Case Managers (DCMs) are the life-line for disaster recovery in helping families access resources to recovery. During this reporting period, 101 clients were served, including two new enrollees into the program. Services continue to focus on providing financial assistance, service referrals, advocacy, and comprehensive goal setting. The program aims to attract residents whose homes are still in need of repair from damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 to assist them with any help they may need for a return to normalcy and maneuvering the requirements of different funding opportunities.

Twenty-four cases were closed this reporting cycle. Service coordination contributed to one long-standing client finally accessing a new apartment through Section 8.  This disabled client was referred after the hurricane when the landlord increased rent beyond the capacity to pay while refusing to make storm-related repairs. With the threat of homelessness looming due to the expiration of the state of emergency for eviction expiring later this year, the DCM team found a funding source to pay a portion of the moving fees, enabling the client to move.

There are currently 54 clients awaiting the Envision Tomorrow program, which provides home repairs through a federally funded program. Progress has been made in acquiring information on the steps to approve home repairs through this program. We anticipate these clients being able to continue to move toward restoration, with DCM support and guidance. One family member spoke fondly of the DCM that helped her mother recover from the storm damage:

Mother’s home was severely damaged by Hurricane Maria and despite the damages, she was forced to continue to live in the dwelling. She is a senior and appreciates her independence but struggled to go through the recovery process. She had been living in the damaged home since the hurricane and we feared for her health because of the extent of the damages. We pursued all available avenues we could find but did not get any solution. Our DCM was able to obtain funds for the necessary repairs to make the home comfortable, safe, sanitary, and secure and our mother was able to regain her life and independence.”

Unmet Needs Committee
The Unmet Needs Committee fills a critical role in disaster recovery. When a Disaster Case Manager has exhausted all resources available to a beneficiary and needs are still not met, the Unmet Needs Committee steps in to fill the gap.

With the closing of the Rebuild Program, funding was shifted to the Unmet Needs Committee to continue to support our clients. Two cases have been funded this reporting cycle:

Case 1 is a 77-year-old disabled St. Croix resident that has been living in a home severely damaged by Hurricane Maria for the past three years. This client is in poor health and legally blind. The client sustained total roof damage that resulted in massive leaks throughout the home and damage to the windows, doors, and tiled floors. The electrical wiring throughout the home sustained major damage from water entering the circuitry. Although some progress has been made, the home still has significant repairs that need to be completed to make the home livable, safe, sanitary, and secure. The Unmet Needs Committee will provide funding for the contractor fees to repair the electrical system in the home, replace damaged windows and exterior doors, and repair cracks in the interior load-bearing walls.

Case 2 is an 82-year-old St. Croix retired senior resident that sustained major damage to their home during Hurricane Maria. The damage included total loss of the roof, damaged kitchen, bathroom, windows, and floors due to the home being flooded. All appliances and furniture inside the home were destroyed. The home is still without a functioning kitchen. The Unmet Needs Committee will provide funding for the contractor to install kitchen cabinets and a sink.

Making A Difference…
The St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group is an organization committed to making a crucial difference in the lives of our community stakeholders, one life, one business, one mind at a time. While emergency relief and even intermediate recovery and survival absorb resources for the first one to two years, we believe that our community is now in a stage where it is truly able to build independence and resilience for the future. As such, the time is now to engage our communities like never before, and we thank you for standing shoulder to shoulder with us now and into the future!

 

 

Helping residents stay safe through Covid!
Helping residents stay safe through Covid!
AARP &the LTRG- helping seniors with health kits!
AARP &the LTRG- helping seniors with health kits!
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A critical need is met: a new roof is celebrated!
A critical need is met: a new roof is celebrated!

Business as usual changed for the world at the onset of 2020. In the wake of the pandemic caused by the novel virus COVID-19, the way in which we connect with each other was forced to change. With the tenacious resilience of island culture, the leadership of LTRG challenged our team members never to miss a crisis. Community connection was redefined, and amazing service has been provided to the community of St. Croix!

73 Homes Rebuilt!
This reporting cycle closes out the final stateside volunteer teams. At the end of 2019, FEMA decided to discontinue the use of "invitational travel" for our volunteers, requiring teams to pay for their transportation to the island. Unexpectedly in March 2020, a travel ban was imposed on visitors to the island in response to COVID-19. These two events impacted the number of teams we were expecting to host. However, we completed three homes with 12 remaining on-island volunteers before the end of May. In the past two years, the construction team has had fantastic success, completing 53,696 total volunteer hours and completing repairs on 73 homes! By the end of June, the construction team was dismantled, and Disaster Case Managers are resourcing other on-island alternatives to continue assisting residents with repairs.

Disaster Case Management
This quarter, the LTRG Disaster Case Managers (DCMs) provided services to an active caseload comprised of 114 clients. One of the program's funding sources covering minor home repairs, the American Red Cross through the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, is finally depleted. This has decreased the Disaster Case Manager's ability to match clients with direct financial assistance for hurricane Maria home repairs.

Case closings during this quarter were 13, with three new enrollments, thus reducing the number of active cases to 104.  Four clients started the process of receiving needed repairs. Three contracts are pending, awaiting the processing of checks and finalizing agreements between the client and contractor. Five clients have been inspected by Envision Tomorrow and anxiously await their next steps to access this government-funded rebuild program. Two clients were referred to Virgin Islands Partners for Healthy Community (VIPHC) Family Care Managers for health services through the public health system.  Estimates by contractors were conducted for seven clients. DCMs also spent a day assembling "goody bags" for active clients related to preventing the spread of the COVID – 19 virus. These consisted of masks, gloves, disinfectants, and hand sanitizer and were made possible through a generous donation from the LTRG and VIPHC.

Unmet Needs Committee
The Unmet Needs Committee fills a critical role in disaster recovery. When a Disaster Case Manager (DCM) has exhausted all resources available to a beneficiary, and needs are still not met, the Unmet Needs Committee steps in to fill the gap. Since the Unmet Needs Roundtable Convened, eight St. Croix referrals have been funded. Three referral repairs were completed by the end of June, and the remaining five are in various stages of completion. The total award for these efforts was $171,995. These cases are all St. Croix residents who, for one reason or another, will not qualify for any of the federally funded rebuild programs. The following is an overview, submitted by a DCM, of one of the cases that were funded:

Like many of our underserved neighbors on St. Croix that experienced extensive damage in the storms, this resident had no choice but to remain in a damaged home, despite the unsafe and unsanitary conditions. With no resources to make the necessary repairs to the home and without the option to move elsewhere, this resident has lived under a leaking roof that has caused excessive mold growth that is now affecting the client's health. The roof had been covered by a blue tarp for nearly three full years since the hurricanes in 2017 and was no longer keeping the home dry. The award amount was $36,245 and covered the following repairs:

  • Repaired roof and ceiling
  • Removed and replaced damaged interior walls
  • Replaced exterior doors
  • Replaced all windows
  • Repaired broken masonry columns that support the roof

The repairs to the roof started at the end of June 2020, and the contractor is currently working on the roof before doing the interior repairs.

On behalf of the Long Term Recovery Group, we give thanks to GlobalGiving for understanding and working with us to use these funds to aid the most vulnerable in our community. The funds are now exhausted for this committee, and the LTRG is working to identify funding to serve more residents who have no other options.

Connecting, Engaging, and Equipping Residents with Resilience Preparedness
The LTRG offers free workshops to organizations and congregations seeking to equip their members to be "Prepared to be Your Own First Responder." The goal of the workshops is to effect a cultural change from one of reaction to one of preparedness--not only for hurricanes but for any disaster that could come our way. When the unexpected disaster of COVID-19 appeared, the LTRG leaped to action. The Disaster Preparedness Workshops are currently virtual! This quarter, three virtual workshops have been offered. Ms. Lang, a Non-Profit Community Leader, stated:

This presentation was excellent! You engaged us, equipped us, inspired us, and clearly communicated the seriousness of proper preparation. We need this all over the island, especially on the radios.

The LTRG also took advantage of our social media platforms. Six original videos were shared on Facebook to educate and engage the community while practicing social distancing each day during Hurricane Preparedness Week. Shorter versions of these videos were shared on Instagram. 31,000 users were reached via the Facebook platform! This created almost 100 new followers and a library of hurricane preparedness videos for the LTRG. Day 4, for example, provided simple ways that residents can prepare their homes and can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/stxltrg/videos/883820405428024/

We are currently "SOLD OUT" and are booked solid by public, private, and NGOs for workshops that empower our community stakeholders on personal and organizational preparedness. These workshops and the online videos are filled with practical tools and guides for each member of the family, for building strength, increasing awareness, and inspiring change.

Collaboration is the Key
In the wake of the Stay-At-Home Orders restricting movement about the island, many of our senior residents were not able to get out for essential items. The LTRG, in partnership with Mario's Crystal Water Company and the Frederiksted Lions Club, began a biweekly water distribution at the Louis E. Brown Senior Center to ensure the seniors had access to drinking water. The residents are receiving a five-gallon bottle of water with filters on a biweekly delivery schedule. The seniors were empowered with COVID-19 information flyers to become more educated on the pandemic.

To deepen our support of our community in response to COVID-19, the LTRG has also partnered with a local designer, Designs By Regal, to provide community stakeholders in grocery stores, gas stations, laundromats, and other common areas with locally designed cloth masks. This creates access to reusable masks, helping residents of St. Croix to abide by the "No Mask, No Service" Order issued to help protect against the spread of COVID-19.

During the Stay-At-Home period this quarter, we learned one of our local food distribution partners, Catholic Charities, was low on food and key essentials for the day to day operations of feeding the homeless. In partnership with TWIGS Ministry, Episcopal Deanery, Islamic Society, and members of AARP, we collectively donate items needed for our partner and critical service provider, Catholic Charities, to continue serving the homeless community.

The LTRG has also begun working with Community First in their efforts to renovate and open a safe residence shelter for the homeless members of our community. We have taken the lead by contacting our local Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) Partners to share the needs for personal hygiene items, men's clothing, and cleaning supplies. These collection efforts are ongoing for the duration of the renovation process.

The Virgin Islands Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VI VOAD) is currently meeting monthly on each island and as a territory collectively. So far, we have sourced and distributed 200 gallons of sanitizer through member organizations as well as 10,000 masks. The VI VOAD is currently working to source 1,000 hurricane preparedness kits that will be distributed across the territory to the most vulnerable populations. 

Making A Difference…
The St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group is an organization committed to making a crucial difference in the lives of our community stakeholders, one life, one business, one mind at a time. While emergency relief and even intermediate recovery and survival absorb resources for the first one to two years, we believe that our community is now in a stage where it is truly able to build independence and resilience for the future. As such, the time is now to engage our communities like never before, and we thank you for standing shoulder to shoulder with us now and into the future!

Spreading Health & Access to Masks Amid Recovery!
Spreading Health & Access to Masks Amid Recovery!
Ensuring seniors have drinking water in quarantine
Ensuring seniors have drinking water in quarantine
Supplies for our nonprofits to serve our homeless
Supplies for our nonprofits to serve our homeless
Increasing preparedness one workshop at a time!
Increasing preparedness one workshop at a time!
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To date, 200 residents are trained for resilience!
To date, 200 residents are trained for resilience!

The St. Croix Long-Term Recovery Group (LTRG) is a cooperative body that is made up of representatives from faith-based, non-profit, government, business and other organizations working within St. Croix to assist individuals and families as they recover from Hurricane Maria. The goal of the LTRG is to unite recovery resources with community needs in order to ensure that even the most vulnerable in the community recover from the disaster.

73 Homes and More to Serve...
In this reporting quarter, the St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group construction and rebuild program suffered some setbacks. At the end of 2019, FEMA decided to discontinue the use of “invitational travel” for our volunteer teams, requiring teams to now pay for their transportation to the island. The impact is that the number of teams we were expecting to host, and the frequency in which the teams are coming, has slowed. To date, however, we have hosted 58 volunteer teams who have contributed 51,821 volunteer labor hours and completed 73 homes!

The impact of the decrease in volunteer labor requires that we re-evaluate the number of homes we have in our queue. We have reduced that number to 23 homes and suspended intake and evaluation on 45 homes. Our Disaster Case Managers (DCM) will continue to seek alternative solutions for those 45 families.

Disaster Case Management
As has been reported, the loss of federal funding to hire critical DCMs required the LTRG to piece together funds through grants from various philanthropic sources. Thanks to our partners from the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) and the United Methodist Committee on Relief we have been granted salaries for two DCMs. And because of the generosity of our GlobalGiving family, a territory-wide grant as well as an additional grant, we were able to hire three more DCMs.

During this quarter, our case managers have served and continue to serve a total of 204 cases. Of those, 134 are still active, and 70 cases have been closed.

The EnVIsion program, a HUD-funded rebuild program operated by the VI government, has begun to take clients. This has allowed our DCMs to assist clients with a new resource. It has also reduced the number of new clients.

Unmet Needs Committee
The Unmet Needs Committee fills a critical role in disaster recovery. When a DCM has exhausted all resources available to a beneficiary, and needs are still not met, then the Unmet Needs Committee steps in to fill the gap. The Unmet Needs Roundtable convened for the first time in this reporting period. During this meeting, four cases referred to the committee by our Disaster Case Managers were funded-- a total of $90,495.00. These cases are all St. Croix residents who, for one reason or another, will not qualify for any of the federally funded rebuild programs. The following is an overview, submitted by a DCM, of one of the cases that was funded:

Client is a single elderly individual that lives alone and survives on a fixed income that limits their ability to make the needed repairs to their home on their own. Client is in a situation where they do not have the support of family to assist in their recovery process and therefore needs assistance. Client has been living in substandard conditions for the past 2 years and continues to do so without much of the basic living amenities. The impact of the storm resulted in client losing the roof of their home along with damages to their floors, windows, doors, electrical, and to the kitchen and bathrooms. Client also lost most of their personal items and appliances. Over the past two years, client was living in the home with a tarp roof that went beyond its useful life that contributed to further damages to various systems and fixtures throughout the interior of the home. In August 2019 client received a newly constructed roof through the Lutheran Disaster Response volunteer rebuild program. However, despite getting the new roof, there are some additional repair items that are required to get the home to a place where it is safe, sanitary and secured. At this time, we are seeking financial assistance from the Unmet Needs Roundtable to fund the completion of the repairs to their home, so they move forward with some level of normalcy in their everyday lives.

Many thanks to GlobalGiving for understanding and working with us to use these funds to provide assistance to the most vulnerable in our community. We will have exhausted available funds for this committee within the next month. The LTRG continues to work to identify additional funding for this critical piece of recovery.

Connecting, Engaging, and Equipping Residents with Resilience Preparedness
As previously reported, The LTRG began offering free workshops to organizations and congregations seeking to equip their members to be "Prepared to be Your Own First Responder." The goal of the workshops is to effect a cultural change from one of reaction to one of preparedness--not only for hurricanes but for any disaster that could come our way. We have now offered this workshop 7 times and worked with more than 200 community members. One attendee said, "You made me feel cared for and I can prepare even with a small budget. I hope you come back again to do more trainings." Another attendee offered this feedback, "More people need this information and presentation. You spoke with passion, engaged the audience, cared about the people and used very practical examples." We will continue to offer these workshops in 2020 and plan to expand them to include information about VI VOAD.

Finally, we are pleased to announce that the VI VOAD has been reactivated! VOAD is an acronym for Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. The Virgin Islands VOAD has been recruiting member organizations on all three islands and holding monthly meetings.

Making A Difference…
The St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group is an organization committed to making a memorable difference in the lives of our community stakeholders, one life, one business, one mind at a time. While emergency relief and even intermediate recovery and survival absorb resources for the first one to two years, we believe that our community is now in a stage where it is truly able to build independence and resilience for the future. As such, the time is now to engage our communities like never before and we thank you for standing shoulder to shoulder with us now and into the future!

Unmet needs get met with the St. Croix LTRG!
Unmet needs get met with the St. Croix LTRG!
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From old to young: teaching preparedness!
From old to young: teaching preparedness!

The St. Croix Long-Term Recovery Group (LTRG) is a cooperative body that is made up of representatives from faith-based, non-profit, government, business and other organizations working within St. Croix to assist individuals and families as they recover from Hurricane Maria. The goal of the LTRG is to unite recovery resources with community needs in order to ensure that even the most vulnerable in the community recover from the disaster.

Rebuilding Lives One Home at a Time!
In this reporting quarter, the St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group construction and rebuild program has surpassed $200,000 USD of GlobalGiving funds to purchase building materials for homes. To date, we have hosted 52 volunteer teams who have contributed 43,973 volunteer labor hours and completed 71 homes! With daily requests for assistance still coming in, today we have 68 homes in the queue, and requests for service continue to come in every day. And while we can report on the number of homes completed and anticipate even more, the impact on lives simply cannot be calculated.

Disaster Case Management: No Closed Cases Until Recovery is Complete!
As you know, with the loss of federal funding to hire critical Disaster Case Managers (DCM), the LTRG has been piecing together funds through grants from various philanthropic sources. Thanks to our partners from the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) and the United Methodist Committee on Relief we have been granted an additional two DCMs. And because of the generosity of our GlobalGiving family, a territory-wide grant has been awarded, allowing us to hire two more DCMs on St. Croix! With these funds in place, the LTRG now has seven DCMs!

During the quarter, our case managers have served and continue to serve 186 cases. Of those, 135 are still active, 7 have referrals pending, 40 cases were closed, and 10 have been referred to the Unmet Needs Committee.

Unmet Needs Committee
As mentioned above, the Unmet Needs Committee fills a critical role in disaster recovery. When a DCM has exhausted all resources available and needs are still not met, then the Unmet Needs Committee steps in to fill the gap. In this reporting quarter, the Unmet Needs Committee has accepted 12 new cases through our online portal, which is unique to St. Croix and allows DCMs to anonymously upload cases for review. Thanks to a generous grant from GlobalGiving the Unmet Needs Committee is able to serve 12 cases that had previously nowhere else to turn.

Preparedness Clinics: Connecting, Engaging, and Equipping Residents
Since August of this year, the St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group has been directing significant focus on connecting, engaging and equipping our community with Disaster Preparedness Clinics. With the understanding that disasters, no matter how small, can hit our territory at any time, these 90 to 120-minute sessions have been geared towards empowering our community stakeholders with tools in preparing to be their own first responder. They also serve the purpose of increasing public awareness on the importance of personal preparation and community involvement as each member learns principles that help to strengthen their approach and resiliency.

Between August 2019 and November 2019, within the public and private sector and faith leader organizations, we have conducted seven "Learn To Become Your Own First Responder" clinics. Over 200 lives have been impacted with 119 feedback sheets received that list immediate action steps they are committed to taking in preparing their households and teams. There have also been requests for upper management trainings regarding contingency plans, team coordination, and tools necessary for staff preparedness. Some of the following testimonials serve to emphasize this strategy and redouble St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group’s commitment to providing further clinics with expanded topics:

  • "The PAC principle spoke volumes to me in taking this training seriously."
  • "You made me feel cared for and I can prepare even with a small budget. I hope you come back again to do more trainings. Do you speak within schools too? We need this valuable information to get to our youth."
  • “More people need this information and presentation. You spoke with passion, engaged the audience, cared about the people and used very practical examples.”  
  • "How can you take this information to our high schools and group trainings for our young people?”  

Simply put and as John C. Maxwell so aptly said: "We cannot become what we need by remaining what we are." In testimony to the truth of this statement, as we move into 2020, our commitment is to expand our approach within our programming to accommodate the numerous requests for continued trainings, larger groups, and preparation as we also grow our Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. Areas of focus are, but not limited to: 

  • Provide support follow-up sessions with organizations previously served
  • Expand our clinics by offering document preparation/security opportunities and other engagement builders
  • Partner with other community leaders that address key concerns (Ex. stress, wound care, certifications)
  • Create Youth Ambassadors that can assist in their peer groups and neighborhoods in the event of disasters
  • Increase our presence in the schools and at community functions with a consistent message of awareness
  • Train, coach, and support our management teams as they prepare their organizational plans

This powerful work is critical to the St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group’s mission to serve vulnerable neighborhoods and to not leave a single man, woman, or child behind.  As such and with the need and value of the clinics tested, St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group is currently working to identify $150,000 to assist us in expanding this essential work in our community.

Making A Difference…
The St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group is an organization committed to making a memorable difference in the lives of our community stakeholders, one life, one business, one mind at a time. While emergency relief and even intermediate recovery and survival absorb resources for the first one to two years, we believe that our community is now in a stage where it is truly able to build independence and resilience for the future. As such, the time is now to engage our communities like never before and we thank you for standing shoulder to shoulder with us now and into the future!

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Organization Information

St. Croix Foundation for Community Development

Location: Christiansted - Virgin Islands
Website:
Twitter: @stxfoundation
Project Leader:
Deanna James
Christiansted, Virgin Islands
$741,518 raised of $1,000,000 goal
 
106 donations
$258,482 to go
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