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Long-Term Recovery meets needs of disaster survivors

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When a disaster strikes and people have unmet needs, volunteers with the Wayne County Long-Term Recovery Group spring into action.

The group was created after Hurricane Floyd in 1999, but went inactive after serving 150 victims of that disaster, said Barbara Stiles with the group.

“When Hurricane Matthew hit, we became active again,” she said. “We hadn’t wrapped up Matthew yet, when Hurricane Florence hit.”

Long-Term Recovery provides help anytime a major disaster occurs. It’s a nonprofit group and mainly faith-based. The group is in for the long haul whenever a disaster victim is waiting for federal funds, Stiles said, to bridge the gaps that exist there.

“We can be very flexible and respond to what the needs are,” she said.

“The homeowner has to have been affected by a disaster, though.”

Stiles said a Long-Term Recovery inspector goes out to the home or the victims can go to the office for help.

“Maybe they need rent before FEMA money comes in or maybe FEMA runs out and they are not into a new home yet,” she said.

“We helped one person buy a FEMA trailer. We helped another buy a used mobile home.

“Lots of times, people apply for FEMA, but after it has expired and they haven’t gotten all their needs met. Or there may be complications.

“We had one case where the father owned the home and passed away right after the storm. He did not get well enough to apply for FEMA.”

Stiles said the group will help disaster victims until the needs are met or until it runs out of money, whichever happens first.

The group is composed of a lot of different agencies, such as the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Eastpointe, Baptist Men, Catholic Charities, various churches, St. Vincent de Paul and several others.

United Way funds a portion of the work that the Wayne County Long-Term Recovery Group does.