Hurricane Harvey Press Releases
ROCKPORT-FULTON CHAMBER FOUNDATION
319 Broadway, Rockport, TX 78382
Press Release #1
Contact: Diane Probst firstname.lastname@example.org
Foundation, Ministerial Alliance, Emergency Management Team move forward on funding assistance program for Aransas County
"Rebuilding Our Community One Step At A Time"
(Rockport- Fulton) Now on day 20 after the direct hit of Hurricane Harvey, a lot of time has been spent setting up a procedure for disbursing the funds collected through the Rockport-Fulton Chamber Foundation specifically for Aransas County.
On Day 2, while handling a tremendous volume of Social Media inquiries, the Chamber established a community wide GoFundMe Account under its 501c3, the Rockport-Fulton Chamber Foundation, Inc. This is a non-profit organization established in 2016 for charitable purposes and is a fundraising source that serves as an online giving mechanism for anyone at any time. Quickly the fund grew to $10,000. It is now right at $350,000. As part of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Team, the Chamber was then asked to handle the deposits of incoming donations under the direction of volunteer and EOC Team Member John Jackson. Those deposits coming in were online donations, checks, cash, gift cards and wire transfers. The grand total amount collected as of today is just under $600,000. The Aransas County Ministerial Alliance is also an equal partner in this effort.
"We are extremely honored to help and assist the community with accurate and transparent record keeping during this difficult time," said Chamber President/CEO Diane Probst. "Donors from all over the world have written notes and words of encouragement for our community."
The donations have come in noted for general hurricane relief and recovery efforts and some have been specified for a specific recovery need.
In 2015 an 11-County 501c3 organization was formed - the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group (CBDRG). The decision has been made to collaborate and join this group with the stipulation that all recipients funded will be residents of Aransas County. "We have been assured all of the funds for Aransas County will remain here. We will have representation on the board as well as the various committees," said Tiffanie Hoover, chairman of the chamber foundation.
The next phase will include an intake process determining unmet needs.
The formation of Aransas County citizen representatives to work with the CBDRG is now underway.
Press Release #2
Contact Diane Probst: email@example.com
Second phase of disaster recovery funding process formulated
"Rebuilding Our Community - Moving Forward"
(Rockport-Fulton) The Rockport-Fulton Chamber Foundation, the Ministerial Alliance, Community Leaders, and the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group (CBDRG) have begun the second phase of the funding process after Hurricane Harvey caused havoc on our community. Every effort is being made to expedite the process to help our citizens.
The CBDRG has now approved the following Rockport-Fulton citizens to represent Aransas County. Mr. Dennis Carnes will serve on the CBDRG Board of Directors. Carnes is well known for his work in helping people across our community and most notably with The ACISD Education Foundation and Rockport Fulton Good Samaritans. Lonnie Matthew, Retired Director of Surgical Services and longtime community volunteer serving most recently as president elect of South Texas District of Texas Federation of Woman's Clubs and past state president of Texas Master Gardener Association, will serve as our representative on the CBDRG Unmet Needs Committee.
CBDRG will pull client files from all the available databases, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The FEMA data by client must be collected during the application period, which usually is 60 days after the disaster, but can be extended. We hope that all organizations contributing manpower, materials or money will be working together with CBDRG in the Unmet Needs Process (humanitarian needs not yet fulfilled) so that an equitable and fair rebuilding system can occur. Partner agencies currently include Red Cross, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, United Methodist Committee on Relief, Presbyterian Disaster Services, and Mennonite Disaster Services.
Serving in the process and helping lend advice and support is attorney Christine Files of Bastrop, TX. "Bastrop raised $600,000 in their disaster recovery efforts during the fires of 2011," said Files. "I am proud to be assisting Aransas County - Rockport-Fulton in this process because I have been through it."
Rev. Beth P. Tatum, United Methodist Church pastor in Sinton and president of the CBDRG, further explains the process. "It is important to clarify that checks will not be written directly to disaster survivors. The money distributed through the Unmet Needs Table will normally go toward construction materials, permit fees, waste disposal at the job site, windstorm inspection help, etc. Sometimes there are more pressing needs like help with an automobile to get to work," explains Tatum. All other donor sources are exhausted to help the client before bringing the "Unmet Needs" to the Table. This is where the CBDRG Committees really help and get things done. Priority cases are low income, elderly, disabled, single parent family or US veterans.” There is no need to re-register with our organization. But if you are able to hire contractors or take advantage of friends and neighbors to assist in your rebuild, don't wait. The recovery process will take years.
In summary, citizens should do the following:
1. File your insurance claim.
4. Ask for clarification if your claim is denied. Appeal your denial if FEMA misunderstood something or they just needed additional documentation that got lost in the system like your insurance claim. You can ask for a second home inspection. Keep receipts of how insurance or FEMA dollars were spent. Read the fine print. There are different kinds of FEMA checks. Do not spend your check for repairs on rent or living expenses.
5. Keep good contact information in the FEMA database (mailing and physical address, phone numbers, and email.) Don't change phone numbers if you use pay as you go plans.
6. Respond to messages and letters from FEMA, SBA or CBDRG.
Much of the updated information is maintained in the 211 database, so anyone can call 211 to find out hours of local FEMA offices, locations, help lines, etc.
The Case Management process is now being developed. Each case will be handled on a case by case basis. This process will apply to the humanitarian recovery effort versus helping businesses recover. Other funding mechanisms are being developed to assist in these areas, and will be communicated as soon as possible.
"Together, we draw on each other's strengths and we will recover better than ever. I know everyone wants to rebuild quickly, but long-term recovery is a marathon, not a sprint," said Rev. Tatum.