Irene help available, but not for long
By Brent Curtis
STAFF WRITER | March 29,2013
Time is running out for Rutland and Addison county residents to apply for assistance paying for home or property damage from Tropical Storm Irene.
After more than a year of helping flood victims pay for and repair their properties, members of the Rutland County Long Term Recovery Committee said their efforts will come to an end in August when funding for the organization’s two case managers expires.
Long before that date, members of the group want to hear from and help anyone from the two counties — with the exception of Pittsfield, Hancock and Granville, which are served by other relief efforts — who still need help.
“April 15 is the deadline, but it’s not a hard and fast deadline,” Lynne Klamm, the RCLTRC chairwoman, said during a group meeting Thursday in Rutland.
“We need to line things up before August because it’s not like we can fix this stuff in a week or two,” she said.
The group — made up of volunteers, residents and members of organizations ranging from Green Mountain Power to Rutland Mental Health Services — has been working since November 2011 to assist residents stricken by flooding from Irene.
In the last 17 months, the group has worked with about 130 clients, according to John Miller, a recovery case manager with the group. Some of those residents received volunteer and professional help repairing their homes and properties, while many others were connected to state and federal resources that provided specialized services.
Miller and fellow case manager William Canfield said about 40 people qualified for funding from four state, local and private sources that RCLTRC has access to.
The group has dispensed $227,710 to flood victims thus far — an average of$6,697 per client — and there’s more available, including about $22,000 in relief funds that the RCLTR has direct control over, Klamm said.
Over the course of the last year and a half, Klamm said her group has repeatedly called residents who filed claims with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and tried in other ways to get the word out that help is available.
But the group’s volunteer coordinator, Andrea Varney, told members Thursday that in recent follow-up visits with flood victims in her home town of Proctor she had found some who were either unaware or unwilling to apply for help.
“The people who I’ve met or called have mostly said there are people out there worse off then they are,” she said.
While the group is trying to find those in need of help, it’s also looking for volunteers willing to lend a hand in efforts ranging from mucking out crawl spaces and grading flooded areas to repairing foundations and coordinating construction efforts.
Those in need of help with work or unpaid expenses from Tropical Storm Irene can call 786-5952 or email Klamm at email@example.com.
Those interested in volunteering can contact Varney at 345-9482 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.