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Photo from United Rescue Alliance
by Victoria Picon
The CFA has received updated information on the scope of the need in the Big Country, specifically in Eastland County. Nonprofits are using grant money from the relief funds to supply victims with temporary living spaces and basic necessities. Other grants will be used for long-term recovery and rebuilding needs.
Losses in Eastland County
The CFA has received the following statistics for Eastland County:
Total Funds Raise and Granted
The CFA and other nonprofits working with the county are continually updating their information on the losses and needs of the affected communities, as not all who have been affected have sought assistance yet.
The fire relief funds have raised a total of around $450k, the majority of which is specifically for Eastland County. Some of these funds have been granted out to support immediate relief needs in Eastland County. These funds are being used to pay for food, short-term lodging, and other basic necessities. Each family is connected with a local team providing resources, referrals, and wrap-around services.
CFA will continue making grants to organizations that can help individuals with urgent relief needs, and other grants will go out a bit later once long-term recovery needs are assessed.
No more tangible donations are requested (no food, water, furniture, etc.). Only monetary donations are needed at this time.
Although many donors aim to replenish the damaged and lost property of the wildfire victims, they have nowhere to store new items. Many victims are living with families, in motels, and in temporary RVs potentially for months and have little to no space for new belongings. It can even take a couple of weeks before insurance companies can show up and determine how much they can cover. It will take a long time to replenish these lost belongings until these families have secure homes to put them in.
Relief efforts have also faced some challenges in regard to cleanup services. Some properties were cleared without the owner’s permission, and others before an adjustor could witness the initial damage, potentially jeopardizing insurance coverage. Recovery is proving to be a slow process, but many nonprofits are putting their utmost effort to get families the help they need.
United Rescue Alliance Assists Eastland County
The United Rescue Alliance is taking charge of this recovery initiative and has entered into a formal agreement with Eastland County to provide long-term case management for the families in need.
The URA empowers local residents to create their own disaster response by providing administrative support and training local teams to set priorities and make decisions. The URA is currently prioritizing volunteer assistance, including the management of heavy equipment needs and services, and flexible short-term funding.
The URA has established a local hotline managed by volunteers to direct and collect the area’s needs. As the central agency for all reporting, they have collected data on structural and home losses as well as individual losses of land, fences, hay, and livestock. The URA set up a recovery center in Siebert Elementary School but will need to relocate soon.
The relief fund grants so far have been made to URA to help families pay for hotel stays, food, and other necessities.
The URA is in the process of building a long-term recovery committee to make funding decisions. The committee will include the mayors of both Eastland and Carbon, fire and emergency response representatives, representatives from the Eastland Community Foundation, and the members of local faith communities.
Thank You to Donors and Volunteers
The CFA will continue to post updates on the needs and uses of these funds as our knowledge about these efforts grows. Thanks to the nonprofits communicating with the CFA, we have a greater understanding of how great the needs are in our community are. Thank you to everyone who has donated their time and money to meet the needs of the Big Country.