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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
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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Smiles from all as a homeowner finishes repairs
Smiles from all as a homeowner finishes repairs

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. This is Community and Solidarity in action.

Construct and Rebuild – Homes, Safety, Joy, Relief
In this reporting quarter, we surpassed $100,000 USD of GlobalGiving funds to purchase building materials for homes. Thank you! An additional $100,000 USD will be drawn down by LTRG member organization Lutheran Disaster Service to continue to purchase building materials.

To date, we have hosted 706 volunteers, 39,000 volunteer labor hours, 46 total groups, and 60 homes completed! We have 68 homes in the queue, and requests for service continue to come in on a daily basis. The other good news from this reporting period is that FEMA has granted us Invitational Travel through June of 2020. This means they will pay for the volunteer teams to travel here and provide a small stipend to feed them while they are serving. And, we continue a very important aspect of this program: the “Final Nail Service,” where the homeowner symbolically drives the “final nail” into their completed home. These ceremonies are full of emotion: joy, relief, gratitude, and praise.

Special thanks are given to our member partner Lutheran Disaster Response for leading this project.

Disaster Case Management: No Closed Cases Until Recovery is Complete!
With the loss of federal funding to cover the expense of this program, the LTRG has pieced together funds through grants from various philanthropic sources – including GlobalGiving – to ensure that Disaster Case Managers (for all three islands) are in place and active.

As reported in the last quarter, these managers are critical, with each working with up to 80 cases at a time to ensure that every beneficiary is not inadvertently receiving duplicate benefits from FEMA, has connections to available resources on the island, and refers to the LTRG’s Unmet Needs Committee when resources are not available. Unlike other programs, Disaster Case Managers (DCM) do not close a case until the client is completely recovered and has a sustainable action plan for thriving post-recovery.

We are grateful to our National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) partner, the United Methodist Committee on Relief for grant monies to support an additional 2 DCMs and to GlobalGiving for supporting a territory-wide grant that will allow us to hire 2 more DCMs on St. Croix. Recently, this new grant was recognized at the Clinton Global Initiative by Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton for GlobalGiving’s commitment to this work. With these funds in place, the LTRG will have 8.5 DCMs by the end of the year.

During the quarter, our case managers have served and continue to serve 177 cases. Of those, 140 are still active, 7 have referrals pending, 37 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 to a beneficiary, 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 10 cases through our online portal. This portal, unique to St. Croix, allows DCMs to anonymously upload cases for review—preserving the dignity of the beneficiary and allowing the funders to make unbiased decisions. The $50,000 USD monies from GlobalGiving are being used to address some of the needs of the 10 cases that have now been referred.

This committee is now seeking additional funders for the Unmet Needs Roundtable in preparation for the additional cases that will come through. The goal is to raise an additional $15,000,000 USD to meet these needs and every little bit counts!

Improving Lives through Community
The St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group is philanthropy in action: volunteers from the community, unifying for the purpose of helping their neighbors for the love of humankind. We thank our GlobalGiving Community for your continued commitment to the people of St. Croix and the U.S. Virgin Islands. As an isolated community and Territory, our voice is often lost, but lives throughout the Virgin Islands are being impacted for the better, people’s wellbeing stabilized, because GlobalGiving sees us. We cannot express our gratitude enough and hope you will continue to stand with us in solidarity to build resilience!

Our volunteers never stop working to improve lives
Our volunteers never stop working to improve lives
More than just a roof! Safety!
More than just a roof! Safety!
2 years post-hurricanes, needs are still great.
2 years post-hurricanes, needs are still great.
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A joyful homeowner hammers the last recovery nail
A joyful homeowner hammers the last recovery nail

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.

Construct and Rebuild: Homes, Safety, Joy, Relief
In this reporting quarter, we used $70,260.65 USD of GlobalGiving funds to purchase building materials for homes.  We were also pleased to celebrate the one-year anniversary of St. Croix receiving volunteer construction/rebuild teams. This milestone represents 478 volunteers, 30,176 volunteer labor hours, 37 total groups, and 50 homes completed! We have 78 homes in the queue, so the work is only just beginning. Special thanks are given to our member partner Lutheran Disaster Response for leading this project.

One important aspect of this program is the “Final Nail Service.” Upon completion of a home, the volunteers, staff, neighbors, and homeowners gather for a ceremony where the homeowner symbolically drives the “final nail” into their completed home. These ceremonies are full of emotion: joy, relief, gratitude, and praise. They symbolize the first major step in a beneficiary returning to a “normal” life. We are grateful to our volunteer teams from the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission for introducing this practice to the LTRG. (Our homeowners love it too!)

Disaster Case Management - No Closed Cases Until Recovery is Complete!
Disaster Case Management (DCM) is the key for LTRGs to provide this much-needed assistance to individuals and households across the island. Each manager works with up to 80 cases at a time to ensure that every beneficiary is not inadvertently receiving duplicate benefits from FEMA, has connections to available resources on the island, and refers to the LTRG’s Unmet Needs Committee when resources are not available. Unlike other programs, Disaster Case Managers do not close a case until the client is completely recovered and has a sustainable action plan for thriving post-recovery.

With the loss of Federal funding to cover the expense of this program, the LTRG has pieced together funds through grants from various philanthropic sources—including GlobalGiving. We are pleased to announce that the $50,000 USD monies have allowed us to hire an additional DCM, Ms. Ahria O’Bryan. She has now been on-boarded and is up to 30 cases.

We are grateful to our National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) partner, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, for providing DCM training to ALL active DCMs in the territory. And we are also grateful to GlobalGiving for an additional grant to support this program. Recently, the new grant was recognized at the Clinton Global Initiative by Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton for GlobalGiving’s commitment to this work.

Unmet Needs Committee: Filling Critical Needs
As mentioned above, 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.

In this reporting quarter, the Unmet Needs Committee has completed the online portal for case intake. This portal, unique to St. Croix, allows DCMs to anonymously upload cases for review—preserving the dignity of the beneficiary and allowing the funders to make unbiased decisions. The $50,000 USD monies from GlobalGiving will begin to be expensed in the following quarter to address some of the needs of the 9 cases that have now been referred.

Building a Better Future
Some survivors affected by the hurricanes do not meet the eligibility criteria for government disaster aid programs or will continue to have unmet needs even after receiving the maximum amount of help from the disaster recovery programs. This is where recovery groups come into play. LTRGs are locally-based teams that are committed to seeing the islands through to full recovery.  The groups are helping Virgin Islanders remove debris, feed their families, and make repairs to their homes.

LTRGs will continue to bring people together to support grassroots recovery efforts and find solutions for some of the major challenges Virgin Islanders face after the disasters. Together with GlobalGiving, we will achieve this!

Volunteers construct a roof - and give hope & joy
Volunteers construct a roof - and give hope & joy
GlobalGiving & LTRG recognized by Clintons!
GlobalGiving & LTRG recognized by Clintons!
Final Nail Service: Giving thanks for repair
Final Nail Service: Giving thanks for repair
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LTRG volunteers assisting the elderly
LTRG volunteers assisting the elderly

December 2018- February 2019 GlobalGiving Report

The spirit and resiliency of a people is 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 community needs in order to ensure that even the most vulnerable in the community recover from the disaster.

Construct and Rebuild

Thanks to the grant monies from GlobalGiving, our Construction/Rebuild Committee is funding the repair of roofs for residents on St. Croix through an initial use of $75,0000 for building materials.

This committee has been hard at work since the first volunteer team arrived on June 2, 2018. Since that time, they have hosted 30 volunteer groups. The groups have ranged in size from 7 to 40 members! In total, 369 volunteers have served and completed 20,213 hours of volunteer labor. That equates to a cost benefit (value of labor) of $1,076,949.92. The work is not slowing down anytime soon. There are currently an additional 50 homes that have been referred to the committee and are now in queue.

The LTRG intends to continue recruiting skilled construction teams and rebuilding the roofs of low- and fixed-income homeowners, primarily the elderly. We continue to seek funds to subsidize building material costs. But perhaps, most importantly, they hope to be able to expand the program by finishing renovations on St. Dunstan’s School, which will allow them to house three times the volunteers than they can at the current location. Further repairs are needed to the St. Dunstan’s School and they also need additional vehicles and trucks for an expanded volunteer program.

The GlobalGiving grant monies were also leveraged to purchase a used 2018 Dodge Ram truck. The truck, which holds up to 6 people, is used for transporting volunteers and supplies to job sites. As we continue to increase the number of volunteer teams, this additional means of transportation is crucial.

Disaster Case Management

Disaster Case Management (DCM) is the key for LTRGs to provide this much needed assistance to individuals and households across the island. Each manager works with up to 30 cases at a time to ensure that every beneficiary is not inadvertently receiving duplicate benefits from FEMA, has connections to available resources on island, and refers to the LTRG’s Unmet Needs Committee when resources are not available. Unlike other programs, Disaster Case Managers do not close a case until the client is completely recovered and has a sustainable action plan for thriving post-recovery.

With only 4 Disaster Case Managers, this committee of the LTRG has managed to get through 80 cases—the majority of which are elderly with medical issues. The work is difficult and exhausting--but they are working to ensure that residents get connected to the resources they need. Our hope is to divert an additional $50,000 of the Global Giving monies to support the hiring of an additional Case Manager.

Disaster recovery encompasses interventions at the community level as well as with individuals and households. While there is inter-dependence between the recovery of the community’s infrastructure and the recovery of individuals and families within that community, the mechanisms for their recovery are distinctly different. Disaster casework and disaster case management are functions in support of empowering and of addressing the basic needs and recovery needs of individuals and families.

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 to a beneficiary, and needs are still not met, then the Unmet Needs Committee steps in to fill the gap. There are currently 6 cases that have been referred to this committee. Diverting $50,000 of GlobalGiving monies to this committee would allow us to start to fill these needs and close these cases.

Building a Better Future

Some survivors affected by the hurricanes do not meet the eligibility criteria for government disaster aid programs or will continue to have unmet needs even after receiving the maximum amount of help from the disaster recovery programs. This is where recovery groups come into play. LTRGs are locally-based teams that are committed to seeing the islands through to full recovery.  The groups are helping Virgin Islanders remove debris, feed their families and make repairs to their homes.

LTRGs will continue to bring people together to support grassroots recovery efforts and find solutions for some of the major challenges Virgin Islanders face after the disasters. Together with GlobalGiving we will achieve this!

Rebuilding efforts continue more than a year later
Rebuilding efforts continue more than a year later
Volunteer groups assisting with repairing homes
Volunteer groups assisting with repairing homes
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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
$638,527 raised of $1,000,000 goal
 
87 donations
$361,473 to go
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