VOAD marks success in recent outreach meetings

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The executive director for West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), believes her organization’s outreach events last month into the communities impacted by the June 2016 were a success.

Jenny Gannaway

“Our goal was mainly to make sure that anybody that had not fully recovered from the 2016 flood and still had some needs, we got them into the program. To see if we could get them eligible to use some funding dollars,” Jenny Gannaway told MetroNews.

Outreach events were held in Clendenin, Rainelle, White Sulphur Springs, Maysel, and Richwood to make sure anyone eligible for housing and bridge replacement through RISE West Virginia from the June 2016 flooding is enrolled.

According to Gannaway, 43 new clients signed up for housing. That number includes 12 in Kanawha County, 13 in Greenbrier County, nine in Clay County, eight in Nicholas County, and one from Summer County that traveled to White Sulphur Springs.

For bridge replacement, VOAD had 18 new intakes including five from Kanawha, eight from Greenbrier, three from Clay, and one apiece from Nicholas and Roane.

Gannaway noted that her organization received over 100 more phone calls from people who could not make it to the outreach events. She did not have exact numbers from the calls but said VOAD filled out applications for funding through the phone and will finish that work this week.

“There were a lot of families who felt like they could recover on their own,” Gannaway said. “Then they felt as time went along, they couldn’t. I don’t know if they felt like there wasn’t help for them, but these are legit cases.

“There are more people that need help and I am glad we were able to reach out.”

Gannaway said the next step for those that signed up last week is to be assigned case managers. She reminded those who signed up that it will take time because they are using HUD dollars.

Eligible funding recipients also have a lot of requirements to jump through including a check on duplication of benefits, environmental processes, work orders, and estimated costs of repairs.

“We are already assigning case managers,” she said. “That will be the goal within this week and next week to reach out to the families and start the process of eligibility.”

It’s also unknown whether VOAD will hold any more outreach events like last week’s but Gannaway wouldn’t rule out the possibility because of the success of these.

“This was one way where we’ve picked up 43 new ones in housing and 18 on the bridge projects. That’s a lot of families that we know for a fact is needing help and we can help them now,” she said.

According to the latest numbers from RISE West Virginia, 111 homes have been rebuilt and completed since the program began.

Active cases under RISE total 368 including 80 involved in active construction.

For more information on how to get help, call VOAD at 304-553-0927 or go to RISE’s website.

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