By Michael Moore
As many of you remember, back on December 30, 2021, the Marshall Fire destroyed over 1100 homes and caused significant smoke damage to 100’s of others across Boulder County Colorado. In the aftermath, the Mountain Sky Conference stepped up to help. Our Conference raised significant funds to help survivors, donated needed goods (including kitchen kits and fire kits) and mobilized our ERT teams to help survivors with ash sifting. Thanks to all for your help!
After the immediate issues were addressed, the Conference reached out to UMCOR we were awarded a grant to provide training and resources to help with the Case Management/Recovery Navigation process for the fire recovery effort.
Every disaster is unique and organizing the project, creating processes, developing a list of resources and defining what type of training was required took a little time, but by August 2022 our team came together and began to help survivors in the recovery process. The Mountain Sky Conference/UMCOR team of Mike Moore (Project Director), Dawn Kiger (Recovery Navigator) and Nicole Vickey (Recovery Navigator) are working with Lutheran Family Services to form the Recovery Navigation (known in other disasters as Case Management) team. We are working out of the Marshall Fire Recovery Center in Louisville, CO.
As of the end of February, six months into the project, the Mountain Sky Conference team:
- Contacted over 175 survivor households that indicated that they need some help or support. These contacts may result in anywhere from a 30-minute phone call to a months long recovery relationship.
- Provided referrals for clients to outside agencies for services over 260 times. This involves, after speaking with a client, we give them contact information for an agency that provides a service that will help them in their recovery. An example would be a referral to the Boulder County Personal Finance Counselors to help them understand their household finances post-disaster.
- From these contacts we opened 67 cases for clients that need additional help in their recovery. These cases involve an in-depth intake process, the establishment of recovery goals and the outline of a recovery plan.
- As we worked with these clients on their recovery, our team uncovered unmet financial needs and gained approval and funding for over 40 of these clients for a total of over $156,000.
In this disaster the Recovery Navigation function works closely with multiple organizations. These include the long-term recovery group (Marshall ROC), multiple government agencies within the city governments of Louisville and Superior, Boulder County, and the US Federal government as well as the Community Foundation of Boulder County. Each of these organizations all have their own ideas, roles, processes and directions in the disaster recovery program. Working in this environment occasionally presents its challenges but I we have been able to find ways to work with all of the constituents to the benefit of the survivors.
Thank you again for all your help, prayers and support. This is a long process and your Mountain Sky/UMCOR team will continue to work to help our clients and the community recover from this fire.