By Colleen Rowan/Courtesy of The Catholic Spirit
Through its efforts in long-term flood recovery, Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa) is primarily focusing on distribution of funds and work efforts through the long-term recovery committees (LTRC) and secondly to coordinate volunteer work teams in Richwood, said CCWVa Executive Director Mark Sliter.
“We’re offering money to all eight long-term recovery committees that are serving the 12 counties that were impacted by the disaster,” he said. “Quarterly funding of $5,000 will be awarded to the long-term recovery committees to enable these LTRCs to respond quickly and nimbly to cases resulting from the June 2016 flood.”
CCWVa, he said, is committed to ensuring that all of the flood-affected areas throughout the state receive the money they need for recovery.
“This funding can be used by LTRCs to purchase building materials for home repair, buy appliances or furniture to replace items damaged by the flood, hire skilled labor to do electrical or other work that requires a licensed professional, and pay for other case-specific work that might be needed,” Sliter said.
In Richwood, CCWVa has begun coordination of volunteer work teams and is continuing case work in the area. CCWVa Disaster Case Manager Janet Kelley has been in Richwood and is continuing to assess needs. “We are committed to ensuring peoples’ homes are safe, sanitary and secure,” she said.
One example is a home to a family of five. On the night of the flood, waters rose to more than 4 and a half feet on the first floor. According to a report from CCWVa, the first floor of the home had to be completely gutted and is in need of a full kitchen, plumbing, electrical, appliances, sheetrock, insulation, flooring, hot water tank, furnace and air-conditioning with ductwork, moisture barrier, furniture and more.
Work has also been conducted on the home of an 86-year-old woman who lives alone in the community and has no family in West Virginia. She was home on the night of the flood and the water, very quickly, made roads impassable. A neighbor came to her house and that of another elderly neighbor with a children’s inflatable pool, which floated them to safety.
The CCWVa report noted that flood waters tore down skirting around her mobile home, filled the crawlspace with mud, soaked insulation and caused foundation blocks of the home to sink and shift.
Help came to the residents of the two homes through a team of students from the University of Notre Dame, who spent their fall break helping with repairs. The team’s efforts were coordinated by CCWVa. The students conducted many repairs including, framing, drywall and installing insulation to name a few.
The work in Richwood is far from finished, and CCWVa is committed to answering the many needs, Sliter said, adding that there are additional groups interested in coming to Richwood to help and that CCWVa will coordinate teams with certain skill levels for needed projects.