Jan 22, 2017|
United Way’s Terri Westerfield discusses the many services offered by the United Way of Southeast Louisiana.
United Way’s Terri Westerfield discusses the many services offered by the United Way of Southeast Louisiana.
United Way’s Terri Westerfield discusses the many services offered by the United Way of Southeast Louisiana.
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
Hello and welcome to united way lit united I'm Jerry Westerfield. And joining me today I am out of welcoming friends. Camera that now who is he ginger Ford North Shore center. For housing and welcome to the program thank you so much for me also love under doppler Bonner is this CEO of via link. 211 welcome Levine thank you happy to be here all I'm glad to have you back and Jeremy dom Collie she is the senior vice president. For development marketing volunteerism. United way of southeast Louisiana welcome ladies. You're all here today because we wanna get a flood update to the community. And many of you remember that horrific past tropic flooding. That began back in August the united way of southeast Louisiana knows that just won a harsh storm. Can devastate a family emotionally and monetary early. We also know that we have a blueprint for prosperity to eradicate poverty in our region. We're strategically investing in programs and initiatives collaborations. And advocacy efforts to meet our community's greatest needs we have a bold vision of equitable communities or all individuals are healthy. Educated and economically stable in Jefferson Orleans plot and in Saint Bernard. Saint Tammany tent promo. And Washington parishes. And this flood that started in August and seem to never want to end. Is why have the heart of all the mission statements of what the three of us here do. Because. We know that we want to bring resources and we want every news. Communications. And rebuilding recovery all of these are necessary or when we're going to be in a crisis situation to be if you'll start us off a little bit. Most although listeners about it because we did we started the war restore rising and you are our talking on the phone and others about wow. What can we do I would get organized. Yeah allow is a bit higher yeah it was a Lal. The waters are rising that Friday before. The big rain started. Coming in and it got declared an emergency we realized to what catastrophic level supplied was gonna happen that Friday a week concede or rain coming. And we immediately reached out parish government and started saying what are you going to be doing there the pair stood up when basic pairs I'm gonna refer to. That change from parish area the saint Temi pair share and even Washington parish because this slide although in our footprint. Noticed Majorly impacted teach how it did impact Arnold short versions. But in each of the parish is specifically change how we reached out for instance to Robbie Miller his our parish president. And often primes who runs the office of emergency preparedness has started finding out what they were doing to prep but for the storm and how bad was taken today. And so wasn't really long before we found out that. Common people realize from across the nation how bad this was worked out very quickly. And all of a sudden we had trucks that started wanting to roll in and console within four days. The first rain coming. And literally just two days after on Sunday when it was declared a national emergency the united way. And stood up a warehouse because we knew that there. Things will be coming in and there was a gap in services we had people that wanted to donate but we had not one single organization could stand up something so quickly. And be apart of emergency operations in conjunction with the Paris to say. Will serve as a hub for all donations that are made and you will in turn. Coordinate a figure Powell weakened and distribute those goods into the community so actually did and come back because we'll talk. About that but during that time that four days wow. 211 LaMont because via a link. You're always there process you crisis 24/7 what every crisis may be always talk about for some people it's catastrophic like this it's a flood. For others it's whether your own personal or emotional storms but. Come within that. First two weeks we took in about 5000 phone calls from folks affected by the flooding. We were gathering resources information and resources as quickly as we could we continue to operate point 47. Com it's a provider that information and you know the episode monumental task because those resources those locations. What's available is constantly changing. Come in hand to the whole parish alone we had about 14100. Folks that that called for assistance. I'm with disaster related services and that was just an those first two weeks right. And please we talked about for so long your beat 211 is such an important number. For all our listeners to remember. Kenny was just a little history of on Bergen for those who tuned it a case to one line is this 24/7. Health and human services related hotline. So if you are looking for. The nearest location to get food. Perhaps medical care at lower no cause dental care shelter her. Supported services that we can provide that information. Via link actually started around 1928. As a volunteer group of volunteers gathering up resources that they knew. Community members need dead and via a link as an official organization's been around since 1972. In and continues to be agreed to partner with united way in getting the word and the resources. And again that call it 211 it's such an easy to remember three digit number of and for those who call it what will they experience. Well you'll have a crisis intervention specialist to teach you if you are in crisis you can get mental health counseling. Telephonic mental health counseling through 211. Or you can get information and referral if you're just you know needing a resource. On you'll be connected with information specialist then. He and you need to provide them with tears zip code because we categorize all of our resources buys it hasn't. And they can tell you what's neat lectures what's available where you are if you're if you have a lot of needs you need a little help prioritize things. The way to go they can help you with that and thank you deal called back to see what's working and a little bit of the case management determined that we use quite that it will come back to. That camera we're gonna come here just a bit because at this point think the switch back to me because. Now we're hearing 5000. Calls made in just two weeks time. And some were just these horrific but it kept watching those those were for banks rise or rise and the destruction. Thousands upon thousands of homes and businesses. You talked about the warehouse that was set up an Hammond in conjunction and I think the yellow star correct and then we had doubted you on the way offices on canal street. Wonderful folks coming in just bringing all kinds of things our company's corporate sponsors. Men and women off the streets junior league bringing diapers. It was amazing outpouring of Al it was and in need because I think we all felt those of us who live through many hurricane here knew what it's like. When that water starts coming and I'm not that. I ask you just gave me irresponsible legislature on my neck is sitting in here here in about it because when you live through something like that. And if you're not living through when you see it on TV are you look at it now you're streamed online as people post videos you see what people are going through and people have big hearts. And so as as we realized that there was the need. That would there was a gap and services that was occurring in the united waste at the warehouse we needed a place to go in our community partners the daily star which is our local. Locally run newspaper in teams prepare. They very generously. Assisted us and giving us the back warehouse space at their facility. And as I mentioned before the parish president Robin Miller assisted us and saying we're gonna help give you some resources. So as you wake panic convenes people at the table here how we can solve the problems and how we're taking. What 211 is doing and then with a Fuller sinners can become an Ngo and with the pairs is doing we bring everybody to the table and we put everybody to working kind of holistic view and this is just the relief aspect is as you got the real talk. About relieve recovery rebuilding Iraq so this is just the first first it's it's the first stage and so literally as the doors opened we brought Yan and coordinated with. The US Army Corps of Engineers and they sent honest I'm talent to help literally and physically. Run it this warehouse with pallets were on the forklifts which finally now I know how to chart before I. On an as well we reached out to many of our corporate partners and said we needed help UPS sent the de L two. Came over from our UPS foundation and dale literally from about the third day through the end of five weeks later when the warehouse shop was with us every day. But what we did was as we put the word out through our website through our great partnerships here. On this station and and their sister TV station were able to put the word out saying that we needed assistance that this is where you could send collier goods. And so we started receiving truckloads and truckloads of as we warehouse we categorize we sort we separated. We counted it every single solitary items that came in and and then we started. Trying to figure how to we get it out on the best means possible so that. As we were receiving good stickers were getting into the hands of other people. Slowly but surely we started I gearing up with local other our local organizations with churches with community groups. And we ended up having assistant in place whereas. A local community group for it's it's a church that was out maybe on the eastern most tip. And bottom of the taste for parish area would come to our offices are warehouse. Excuse me. And that we would to have many families are you dealing with today and it's and we had fifty families that we know hour the dual war. We within load and create buckets on goods that within go out to that church. The church would drop back into their neighborhood and one alarm either tribe opened on the rise. Where those people would come directly to that charge so. We had a court anywhere with over ninety different. Organizations to get. Over to date of one point four million items that have been sent out to the community because by the way we're still handing out things. While gets crazy and again and that was just the relief access relief. And this went on for quite awhile because the waters were staying around unfortunately. We are all heard the reports we saw them when we read about them. And as we're trying to deal with that component all of a sudden you realize wow we've got struck looking towards the future. And now a camera has been so patiently waited eight. We're starting to talk about the recovery aspect. And this is again where you have a really big role and lung monitored to. Chairman tells about how Fuller center starts. Looking at these situations because they'd been a mainstay. I know since Katrina and how so many people Diaz absolutely well let me first say that I grew up here in a Rollins on the west bank and went through many floods growing up. But I have never experienced a flap like this one that we had an honest and not in new Marlins not with hurricanes on anywhere. I got to see parts of Louisiana flood that have never ever ever flooded before and so it was an unprecedented event that shocked assault. So the Fuller center for housing is a Christian housing ministry it's an international housing ministry that's been around since 2005. It was an outgrowth of our big sister habitat for humanity. And our primary purpose is to use volunteers. To. Eliminate substandard housing by building and repairing houses for low income families. And so in change about parents have been around for about 25 years first as ginger sport habitat for humanity and then his North Shore in North Shore Fuller center for housing. Those two organizations emerged in 2011. And so we are used to working with volunteers and going into sub standard homes and bringing them up to safety cents affordable living conditions for people. On a year round basis so this was our first disaster event and that really affected our service area which includes taint of a ho in Livingston parishes. And so we felt you know we first tried some mucking in guiding and realize that was earlier thing and we tried working with some churches join mold remediation and they had experience that we didn't have suddenly realized you know we really just need to focus on what we do best which is preparing. And so we were fortunate to. Connect with presbyterian disaster assistance to was ready to come to south Louisiana. Sending church groups from all over the nation and gain needed work partners and so we were a perfect where work partner fit for them. And they started sending in church groups every single week since the flag to work and houses. And so calm we've been. Literally going into the homes that were flooded and using FEMA dollars that these families forgive and to bill by the materials and then using our volunteers doodle labor so it doesn't cost the family's money to pay for the labor. You know and then at the family is short of money to buy materials than we have other resources that we can draw from to provide the materials for the Spain is. For instance we've been very successful with some big organizations donating sheet rock insulation. Plywood. So. We have three sources that vainly skinny is. And so we want to be able to connect with as many of those families as possible and help bring bring people back into safe decent livable conditions. As you say that that they all ideally keeping its partnership partnership partnership probably all reach out and worked together. So while you're building or rebuilding homes working with you not a way let's go back to look under regular Bondra. Those phone lines are still ring they are we're not getting as many but we're still getting a substantial number of calls. Com you know and the needs of somewhat shifted that we are still getting quite a lot for. Recovery that now we're seeing it people are needing help. With legal aid you know and can't pay for a so we're doing some free referrals to legal aid and they we just had a on the show recently talking about clear title and and things such as this you never think about it. I generations of Louisiana is live in a certain homers certain plot of ground. It's just where it's always been in that unfortunately catastrophe strikes like this. And now where is that singular most important piece of paper that as great great granddad built this and left it to. And it doesn't belong to you and me not being able to find it gets to be a real crisis situation in obtaining money from FEMA that you were talking about camera your insurance. Agency anybody distraught to recover rebuilding process right I think that was a hard lesson we learned to it and Katrina TO. I'm thinking also about when we were talking the other day. Some people even Lucy right now might say why they update why we care law because it is important. We live for through it this was not our Katrina but it might have been many others and as you also said again camera I'm thinking about. That's so many people that I go. Who lived here and it moved after Katrina wanted to go shoot camera up north someplace where wouldn't plug because it never floods there. And it's heartbreaking. Because now they've lost things somebody Betsy summoned Katrina an hour on with this great ride and it's needing all those kinds of of resource is that if they don't know who to go to. You can call again that 211 number and that's mental health issues to absolutely. Normally are are now. Health calls from tainted by lower average around 9% of the calls we get it. But that number has been creeping up since the disaster on. You know it's went to 13%. And we we see it still creep being an expected to rise even more. As that adrenaline has worn offers wearing off from the flood and people have these harsh realities and just frustrations that there. Having to deal well come we're also. Seeing a higher number of calls for help with substance abuse to do which you know that. Can relate back to the mental health and the frustrations there. Unfortunately. We're not seeing any rise in the number of calls for on domestic abuse. Our protective custody issues yet. But we are watching that very closely we do offer crisis counseling telephonic glee 24/7. By either the phone and you can dial 211. We have our teen crisis text line that. Is 504777. 3273. And let me stop you get that one more time because if your parent and teen earnest when you think might. What attacks Boris more information give it to me again wonder it's 504777. 32073. And we did have quite a number of views intentionally. Using that summoned saint Tammany and Washington until. That were. Just needed to talk to a counselor in coping with what was going on with their living situations since the slide. He texting is their preferred method of dry acacia absolutely for them it's private. It's confidential. It works for them. And what we hang out also name only if texting is not sure thing but you like to be on the computer we have a crisis chat line. Let's that's online he go to our web site dealing dot org VI a LI NK. Dot ORG. An icon will pop up to. Ask if you want to chat with a counselor. Write me all that's from. Two to 10 PM daily bit by the end of next week it's hard and yet the into next week right around the 25. It'll be 24/7. Four crisis chat. And a nice thing about crisis chat is. It does not leave a footprint on your computer. I know it's important that is very important that you are and you know if it and an abusive situation and if your victim of human traffic being. And you need help you can go to computer news that they can't go back and see. What that she visited that site or what the conversation one and nobody mentioned written before about domestic violence. And importantly see when they're being crises here Wetherbee hurricanes are BP oil's fillets are that. You see a rise right mr. violence. Unfortunate also we are about to rise in drug abuse alcohol abuse of children and often what distress related right. He and as I said we have we know we're seeing some a rise of requests for help with substance abuse that we have not seen. A rise in. Calls about domestic abuse situations and not say that they haven't they don't exist. Just that they folks have not reached out to ask for help and particularly let's hope. We don't get too many calls because that's not happening. To really go back to you because you're aware we always like to her boots on the ground don't go out there all the time and thank you see these things it. Is he talked about you know ways role is finally got about a convene here at fund raiser in your been so many things are working with two on one and working. Where their friends to force under others that we've had a variety of grants. Go out and help me in this relief from the recovery another rebuilding. Of these these water in a log area. And I I think this update and talking about where we are in honor and our flood recovery is really important and it is timely because we wonder. Remind everyone that. On August was just a few short months ago. And choose the extent of the devastation these lies to teach how alone we had recorded over 101000 individual household. That had called FEMA and said. My house has been damaged that's just the ones that a call we know their people out there that hasn't been out on top ski team and Ian and Washington Paris and you're just in the east. Thousands upon thousands of homes those don't rebuild quickly. It takes a long time sometimes and when you add the devastation of our partners to the east at this area in to Livingston and batteries in the Katie Anna's. It is tens of thousands of people who have been devastated by the flights at. We don't lose sight that this is a long recovery. And we need your assistance I mean this is there's a lot of people and that's why who wanna keep talking about it. One of the great things with united way through people's donations. And then saying I want to continue to sport and I went so we can be there stay in warehouses. So that we can make those greens we were very fortunate. And that immediately following in the first ten days following the flawed recreate it out over a 120000. Dollars. Two immediate relief and that's two too long islanders 211 so that they could continue to stand up and and add capacity to. Say weakened support as 5000 calls that were mayor just immediately following storm that they can't tweak or seven crisis line. To the food bank that was in the area that then all of a sudden he had so much overtime and with. Mean they lost their fund raiser so that they can continue to operate were able to provide funds that they banks that he get in that community. We provided funds to the school system because there were so many families that were devastated by floods. The kids lost all their goods they lost their pack pack. Packs it couldn't pay their fees to go to the science and earth are close they lost their clothes they lost their shoes we need to do another agreed to the school system by. The way so we need more donations commands that we can continue. To server says children. Com but since the flood we've been able to generate over happening in dollars and Koreans and so one of the things as you look to partner you know we're blessed to have the full or sinner who. Who stood up and said look we're going to your help and come be part of this long term recovery in line up rebuilt. But they have one construction managers trying to cover two parishes so we were able to give them a Korean that it able to hire. A full time construction manager to add to their staff so they can act capacity. Instead of building. Two homes a month they can build six homes some months writing on the road to recovery. And we're looking at increasing that capacity through an up or center who is our retail partner. In Saint Anthony and and our our group over in Washington pairs we don't want to be rebuilding five years from now. We wants you know our our goal is that. You know we've got 8200 families that we're assisting by the end of the year in their rebuilding efforts we know that we have just intangible parish alone we have a a list of over 200 families that are asking for assistance. We need to increase that capacity so. Our our job is to continue to build resource is to work with the Fuller sinners of the world and the 21 wants the world in the presbyterian group that's coming in. With our long term recovery group to say. These are the needs and how do we go about. Getting those needs assigned. To families we're working very closely and I'm gonna remind everyone. Any questions you have on the services that are out there. 21 line if you forget the teen text number if you forget the number to call and on line if you wanna get Tina white is call 21 ones they had against guys who wanna keep reiterating over and over again by. We we want to work and as we move forward with other workers I mean encore has come in the has been a very. Large part recovery in the Tate how La region so that's kind of what we're trying to do you know. It's it's a big thing we have a lot of work to do we've done something. Tremendously different than we've ever done before we partnered with lobby. The Louisiana association of business and industry we knew. That there were small businesses out there that had fallen through the cracks. That didn't have. That means that they needed to recover. Lot be identified a group of small businesses specifically taint repair should ask united way to partner. We stood up. A 100000 dollars. That and we can then go through lobby to Korea to small businesses and so we're really proud that that in effect. Has re employ people. I mean. You've lost your home you've lost are your belongings then god forbid you losing your job right so we've we've done something we've never done before we're very proud of that. I just wanted to go they'd do if your organization. Has a resource source service. That you have to offer to the community and at no charge that you would like to have on our resource directory the that we can share that. Please call 211 can tell the counselors you've got to resource for them are to check to see if it's an art directory and that some bets on board he had an information. Yeah we're we're talking here about money is sometimes we are counting on is we don't want it but we need to because folks listening. I united way is still running a campaign. We help to fund. Just our partners that you're hearing about today 211 which is via link that is believed that around what since 1928. You said wow. And cameras here wethy Norse or Fuller center. It takes money to rebuild these homes and an honestly lives because for all the good. Volunteers we have now they are those were counselors and others they too have families in need to put a roof over their head of food on the table. Tehran interested in. What kind of economic resource is what does it hate to rebuild a home because I know again. Volunteer labor FEMA is only giving so much so then where does the rest come from if not everyone has insurance especially those. Who were insured for flood right because they never needed a couple. That's right and we are only serving people who did not have flood insurance on their homes and I would be the majority of the people enough blood because these are areas that we're not required to help when insurance. Or so of course it takes labor it takes materials. You're talking about. Plywood and insulation and sheet rock and all the things that you need to finish drywall was a timeout flooring doors windows you're talking about electrical. Sockets like out water and I'm anything to do with electricity. We would love to have some more licensed electricians come forward and be able to donate your time to have on. You know walk through the houses and make sure they're safe lots of pain we go to lots of primer and paint restoring the walls. Copyright sure if people are hearing this and they do have paid they want to donate are they maybe aren't electrician who wants to volunteer his or her time. What should they do they call too and wonder they call you what's the best route he would. To do it I would say won't Wear out our united way volunteer center is on keeping track of all of volunteers and and donations so. I would say you can call any and all but really and truly got the united way sealant dot org you and I TED Debbie and why seal SE LE dot org. On there is a volunteer page. You can send a message and say I wanna donate and everything that is given for flood relief goes into the flood relief we're very lucky we have a warehouse on the north end of our parish. That is being operated by. Volunteer. Out of our long term recovery group and our encore groups and if if you remember Eddie united way Selig not a war. If you're not sure you forget call 21 want to come out and and humor is in charge of taking all those donations and putting him to work in our region. Absolutely and we also need a warehouse we've had somebody donate a warehouse to us for the last four years he's since. At least it so we are in need of a new warehouse contained contained by no parent should have somebody wants to donate warehouse space to earth would be fabulous. And the homes that you've already been working on a plan to work on. Again each house is different but that's correct how many do you hope to have done in the next a couple months shall we say well we're finding it's taking about four weeks per house to do today were working on three different projects so the more we can do the batter you know the more volunteers. We haven't even put a number on you know we just keep going at it every single day until the next one's time and we moved to the next one. Camera thank you all of you ladies I appreciate the time has flown by so I need a promise I'll be back cracked yet Nassau we are. Eighth to kind to average out who is that the ginger sport or short Fuller center for housing love underdogs the CEO the only 211. Chief. And demean Dahmer senior VP of development marketing and volunteerism. A united way of southeast Louisiana. I'm Jerry Westerfield. And organize to wait please remember we have a blueprint for prosperity. To eradicate poverty in our region where is strategically investing in programs and initiatives collaborations and advocacy efforts. To meet our community's greatest needs for more information please visit the united ways Sheila dot org. Or color code 504822550. Or Turkish sat on FaceBook I'm Jerry Westerfield for united way c'mon ladies live it yeah I did.