Residents of Paradise Lakes, Green Acres, Chris and Hanson Lakes and Hawaiian Village, your voices are needed.
Sarpy County community organizations are in the process of creating a long-term disaster recovery group and organizers want residents of areas affected by flooding to serve on committees and help the group identify unmet needs.
“We can’t just make guesses of what their needs are,” said Carolyn Pospisil, executive director of the Bellevue Housing Agency and interim co-chair of the long term recovery group. “We need to know what they are directly.”
The long-term recovery group will organize and coordinate the distribution of resources in the county now that federal agencies like Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration have moved on. Nonprofits, faith organizations and local chapters of national organizations like Salvation Army and Red Cross are all involved in the group.
Input from residents of affected areas will help the recovery group focus its efforts, organizers said, which could include providing additional funds for home repairs, mental or emotional support, tracking down neighbors and identifying affordable housing options.
In particular, the group wants directly impacted residents for the communication, community assessment/unmet needs and case management committees.
“When we are working with people under blue skies it’s very different from what they need after they’ve been through a disaster,” said Georgie Scurfield, executive director of Lift Up Sarpy County. “And those of us who provide services under blue skies are not experts at how we respond to a disaster. We need to learn from the people who have experienced it themselves.”
Organizers stressed it is a community-based group that is in the works and it is looking for community advocates.
“This is not about how you get more out of the federal government,” Scurfield said. “This is about what this community can give and can do to recover.”