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DISASTER RESPONSE AND RECOVERY
Disaster planning and response has always been important on Long Island, but the catastrophic events of recent history have made it a top priority. The Health & Welfare Council of Long Island has been intimately involved in the planning and coordination of disaster response activities in Nassau and Suffolk counties since the creation of the Long Island Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (LIVOAD) coalition, which is made up of regional nonprofit, for-profit and governmental agencies. Established after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, LIVOAD works to foster a coordinated approach to disaster recovery, identify what services are needed and develop efficient ways to deliver them.
Since October 2012, when superstorm Sandy devastated parts of Long Island and left most of its residents powerless for days, HWCLI, in its role as a coordinator of LIVOAD, has facilitated communication between nonprofit agencies providing assistance to storm victims and emergency management officials from the local, state, and federal governments. It has also convened the LIVOAD’s Long Term Recovery Group to organize the assistance efforts of health and human agencies for storm-affected families months and possibly years into the future.
The Long Term Recovery Group:
• expands agencies' opportunities to help storm survivors
• makes possible the best and most extensive use of agencies’ services and resources.
• allows agencies to share information and therefore avoid duplication of services and efforts.
Through subcommittees made up of participating organizations, the Long Term Recovery Group is helping manage key areas related to disaster response, including case work, home cleanup and other housing issues, volunteering, donations, and the special needs of the undocumented population.
Additionally, HWCLI, the United Way of Long Island and other agencies across Long Island are initiating a Long Island Hurricane Sandy Unmet Needs Roundtable to help community members hardest hit by the disaster. This tool, frequently used after federally declared disasters, connects donors with storm victim cases in which all other means of assistance have been exhausted.
In this model, trained case workers present selected cases to a round table of funders, who then determine whether they will meet the expressed needs based on predetermined criteria. Any funding provided by the donors goes directly to whatever vendor can meet the need — for example, a contractor or a landlord — ensuring a transparent system for aid.
In the days and months after 9/11, governmental and health and human service organizations worked painstakingly to respond to the needs of those affected. The unprecedented scale of that disaster meant there was no appropriate paradigm to guide all levels of emergency response. No systems were in existence that could provide clear, reliable information to the thousands of traumatized victims or to equip the nonprofit and governmental organizations working to manage the crises. Within a short time, it became clear that more formalized coordination would be crucial, and so the LIVOAD was formed.
Since that time, the LIVOAD has been activated in response to other catastrophic events, including the 2008 financial crisis and economic downturn and 2011’s Hurricane Irene.
JOIN OUR TEAM
Agencies are welcome to join the LIVOAD. Members support each other through their collaborative planning efforts to identify potential needs of disaster victims and develop coordinated and efficient delivery of needed resources and services, to ensure those affected by such a large-scale disaster receive the help they need, in both the short and long-term, and as quickly and effectively as possible. For more information, email HWCLI by clicking here.