Needs committee looking to helpMore than 500 homes in the Stutsman County area were affected by flooding, officials said. Already, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has provided more than $373,000 in assistance. But assistance from FEMA, personal insurance, the Small Business Administration and other resources isn’t always enough.
By: Katie Ryan, The Jamestown Sun
More than 500 homes in the Stutsman County area were affected by flooding, officials said. Already, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has provided more than $373,000 in assistance.
But assistance from FEMA, personal insurance, the Small Business Administration and other resources isn’t always enough.
“FEMA is not designed to bring people back to where they were,” said Jerry Bergquist, Stutsman County emergency manager.
That’s where the Stutsman County Recovery Unmet Needs Committee can help.
One of the committee’s roles is to distribute funding to residents who need help cleaning up or repairing essential living spaces, said the Rev. Harlan Kaden, committee chair and pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church.
Those essential living spaces may include a child’s bedroom, the family’s kitchen or a bathroom. Living spaces that are part of a home, but not essential (like a deck or a guest bedroom) do not qualify.
So far, about 10 Stutsman County residences have applied for assistance, but the committee expects more. Residents who are unsure about applying or who don’t think they need to apply, should, said Beth Dewald, committee member and executive director of the Buffalo Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross.
“We also have a very strong, proud community that thinks they can do it all on their own,” she said.
The applicants are kept confidential, Dewald said. The committee, which consists of representatives from voluntary and faith-based organizations, never knows the applicants’ names. The application for financial assistance asks for information like pictures of sustained damage, estimates for replacement and repair and if possible, a copy of the individual’s 2008 tax return.
But the committee provides more than financial assistance.
It can also help residents who are overwhelmed or who struggle to cope with flood-related issues, said the Rev. Debra Ball-Kilbourne, Three Rivers District superintendent and committee member. The committee can also direct skilled volunteers to help with cleanup and rebuilding efforts.
Applicants are required to apply for assistance from FEMA first, but even those who didn’t qualify for or didn’t accept FEMA assistance can still potentially qualify for help from the unmet needs committee.
“Whether they did or did not get money from FEMA is not a factor,” Kaden said.
And while the group is distributing funds, it also seeks to raise them.
The committee hopes to raise about $30,000 through donations from individuals and businesses.
“Obviously, this committee cannot meet the needs out of our pockets alone,” Kaden said.
Donations may be sent to the Jamestown Community Foundation.
The Stutsman County Recovery Unmet Needs Committee specifically serves Stutsman County, but residents of any county may send their application to the committee. The committee submits all applications to North Dakota Long Term Recovery, Dewald said. Residents of any county can qualify for state funding without filling out an additional application, she said.
“They (residents of neighboring counties) are not forgotten. …,” she said. “We forward it on.”
Applications can be picked up at the Buffalo Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, 300 Second Ave. N.E. # 213 (located in the Jamestown Mall), the office of the Stutsman County Emergency Manager, 205 Sixth St. S.E. (located in the lower level of the Stutsman County Law Enforcement Center). Applicants can also call Ball-Kilbourne at 952-2009. Applications may also be downloaded off of The Jamestown Sun’s Web site at www. jamestownsun.com.
The deadline to apply is Aug. 17.
To make a donation to the Stutsman County Recovery Unmet Needs Committee, mail it to Jamestown Community Foundation, P.O. Box 372, Jamestown, ND 58402. When sending the donation, indicate “disaster unmet needs” in the check’s memo section.
If you’d like to volunteer for clean up efforts, contact Lutheran Disaster Response at 1-800-366-9841.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org