Disaster Assistance – Red Cross Northland http://redcrossnorthland.org/ Sun, 05 Dec 2021 10:19:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://redcrossnorthland.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/icon-7.png Disaster Assistance – Red Cross Northland http://redcrossnorthland.org/ 32 32 Three months after Hurricane Ida, residents are still waiting for FEMA housing https://redcrossnorthland.org/three-months-after-hurricane-ida-residents-are-still-waiting-for-fema-housing/ Sun, 05 Dec 2021 08:00:09 +0000 https://redcrossnorthland.org/three-months-after-hurricane-ida-residents-are-still-waiting-for-fema-housing/

It was not until November 2021 that each resident was placed in temporary housing after Hurricane Laura hit southwest Louisiana in August 2020, although many residents were placed in units before. this date. After Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area in August 2017, it was not until the following June that each resident was placed in a unit.

What is at issue is not only competence, but difficult political choices which are still the subject of debate. Is providing housing for disaster victims the right role for government? If so, at what level of government? And how long after a disaster do victims need housing assistance?

“It can be done if there is a will” said Laurie Schoeman, disaster recovery specialist for Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit organization. But FEMA has moved away from direct housing towards rental and hotel vouchers.

“FEMA doesn’t want to be in the housing business,” Ms. Schoeman said.

In the middle are people like Ms. Manuel and her neighbors, some of whom have decided to sleep in cars or tents or inside damaged and moldy houses. Some have doubled or tripled with family and friends.

“It looks like they would already have steps, like: this is what we do when something happens,” Ms. Manuel said. “It’s like they’re trying to figure out what to do next instead of knowing it already. “

More than three months after Hurricane Ida ravaged the Louisiana coast, thousands of residents of the hardest-hit bayou communities southwest of New Orleans are still displaced. According to a FEMA spokesperson, only 126 of the 4,465 households deemed eligible by FEMA for direct housing had moved into housing. There is no estimated timeframe for completion.

After months of waiting for FEMA housing, Ms. Manuel’s older brother and sister finally received help from a different source: the state provided them each with a caravan, as part of a new program to meet acute housing need. The program went much faster than FEMA’s: by early December, around 1,200 families had moved into the Louisiana trailers – campers that can be towed by a vehicle – and another 800 are expected to move in over the next few weeks. . But the program, which started from scratch, has also experienced delays.

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CommonWealth Magazine https://redcrossnorthland.org/commonwealth-magazine/ Fri, 03 Dec 2021 15:18:12 +0000 https://redcrossnorthland.org/commonwealth-magazine/

IT’S CLEAR that pandemic struggles have made paying rent more difficult for many people, even though moratoriums on evictions have helped them stay at home.

A report released this week by Metro Housing Boston puts a staggering figure on the help residents of the greater Boston area need. In one year, starting in July 2020, the agency distributed $ 63.2 million in housing assistance funds to 10,200 low-income households in the Boston area.

In comparison, the year before, the agency distributed $ 5.1 million to 1,800 households, and the year before, it gave $ 4.4 million to 1,700 households.

One of the main reasons for this increase is that the state has changed its laws so that households can get more money. The average family allowance was $ 6,100 in fiscal 2021, compared to less than $ 3,000 in the previous two years. The state has also enabled more people to benefit from it, including those with slightly higher incomes. And there is simply a lot more money to distribute since both state and federal governments have invested huge sums to prevent evictions and foreclosures. Between March 1, 2020 and October 1, 2021, State officials distributed approximately $ 270 million to more than 40,000 households statewide through its diversion initiative.

Yet it’s also clear that a 600% increase in aid provided by the Boston-area agency represents a landscape with a much larger scale of needs.

The report says the pandemic is to blame: “The ripple effect of community closings, business closings and the resulting layoffs and layoffs, distance learning and the need for parents to stop. from working to stay at home with school-aged children; and the financial impact of losing income temporarily due to illness or permanently due to death financially crippled many households.

Steven Farrell, COO of Metro Housing Boston, said the need is not waning. Between July 1 and November 30, 2021, the months following the reporting period, the organization distributed an additional $ 74 million to 9,280 households.

“We are setting new records every week,” said Farrell. “When more funds become available, we get more requests. “

Farrell said those receiving help in many cases are people who were previously middle-income with stable jobs, then suddenly lost a job or found themselves wading amid COVID. In previous years, Farrell said, the rent assistance program was about homelessness prevention for low-income households. Now it has become a “disaster relief fund”.

There is a state law that prohibits a judge from ordering the eviction of a person if he has a pending request for rent relief, and Farrell said this has also likely increased the number of requests – which is “exactly what the program was designed for”.

Meet the author

Journalist, Commonwealth

On Shira Schönberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter for CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for over seven years at the Springfield Republican / MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as starting the legal marijuana industry, issues with the state foster care system and the elections of US Sen Elizabeth Warren and Governor Charlie Baker. Shira won the 2018 Massachusetts Bar Association Award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and several articles won awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Prior to that, she worked for the Concord (NH) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, city hall, and Barack Obama’s primary campaign in New Hampshire in 2008. Shira is the incumbent of a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.

On Shira Schönberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter for CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for over seven years at the Springfield Republican / MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as starting the legal marijuana industry, issues with the state foster care system and the elections of US Sen Elizabeth Warren and Governor Charlie Baker. Shira won the 2018 Massachusetts Bar Association Award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and several articles won awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Prior to that, she worked for the Concord (NH) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, city hall, and Barack Obama’s primary campaign in New Hampshire in 2008. Shira is the incumbent of a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.

By far the biggest chunk of money last year went to rent payments. The moratorium on evictions allowed people who owed rent money to stay in their homes, but the money they still owed had to be paid, and the agency paid $ 43.5 million to help people in arrears of rent. A much lower percentage than in the past went to security deposits, moving expenses, and the first and last month’s rent – signs that low-income people were moving less frequently.

Farrell suggested that with all the uncertainty surrounding COVID, families were looking for all solutions to stay stable.

An additional $ 2.5 million, much more than in previous years, was spent on mortgage assistance. This money went to both financially struggling families and homeowners who were not receiving rent money and therefore were themselves threatened with foreclosure.


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Disaster relief for our customers affected by flooding in Inglewood https://redcrossnorthland.org/disaster-relief-for-our-customers-affected-by-flooding-in-inglewood/ Thu, 02 Dec 2021 03:29:48 +0000 https://redcrossnorthland.org/disaster-relief-for-our-customers-affected-by-flooding-in-inglewood/

With flood waters causing damage, disruption and displacement in the Inglewood area of ​​Queensland, near the NSW border, we have activated an assistance package for our customers as well as the Free access to Telstra Air Wi-Fi where possible.

As the floodwaters begin to recede, we know that many people in the region will face significant distress and disruption. It is a difficult time for everyone in the community, and it is essential that people can stay in touch with family and friends.

Payphones in the region are already able to make free local and national calls to standard landlines and free calls to standard Australian mobile numbers, after we made payphones free in August 2021. During this situation flooding, we will also allow free use of the Telstra Air Wi-Fi network in areas where public telephones are equipped to provide it.

If you were moved from your home during this disaster, we’re here to help. We have activated an assistance package which offers our customers short and long term assistance measures; this assistance can range from additional data on your mobile and free call forwarding to a one-time credit to help cover the cost of bringing a fixed line service back to service.

Our support package gives Telstra customers access to free and temporary services during the short-term impacts of inclement weather, with long-term measures also available for customers who have suffered severe damage or loss of their property. home and their business.

If you’re a Telstra customer living in one of the areas we’ve listed, we’ll send you an SMS with a link to request a Disaster Assistance Package. You can also read more about our disaster assistance packages here.

If you need a temporary diversion for a landline to another number, or for other long-term assistance, please Contact us. If you are in a disaster affected area, call us at 1-800-888-888 to speak to our Disaster Assistance Team.

More information on federal disaster assistance is available at Disaster Assistance Site, and state government serving NSW Disaster Assistance Finder Website.

Our support packages for affected customers may include the following:

Short-term measures (for Telstra customers who have experienced a short-term impact, evacuation or failure):

  • Calls diverted from a landline service to another number while you are moving from your home or business (to Australian numbers only)
  • 25 GB data pack for post-paid mobile customers (expiration 30 days, not transferable to another service)
  • 25 GB of prepaid data and free calls (expiration 30 days, not transferable to another service)

Longer term support may also be available for Telstra customers who have suffered severe damage or loss of their premises and who require longer term support.

Long-term measures (for Telstra customers who have suffered serious damage or loss of their premises):

  • Free call forwarding from the customer’s Telstra landline service to another Australian landline or mobile service of their choice, regardless of the operator
  • A one-time credit to the customer’s Telstra landline account to cover the cost of connecting to a Telstra landline service at a temporary address, and
  • Reconnection of a Telstra fixed telephone service to the customer’s original permanent address.

By Campbell Simpson

External Editorial Manager – Telstra

Campbell is the external editorial manager of Telstra and is responsible for the editorial strategy and publication of Telstra Exchange. In her role, Campbell finds interesting stories within our company and shares them in new and innovative ways. He came to Telstra after working as a tech reporter for over a decade on websites such as Gizmodo, CNET, and PC World, and has a long-standing love for tech and gadgets. When not writing, Campbell spends his free time outdoors as much as possible, hiking, camping, or mountain biking around NSW.

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News: Coronavirus response: NATO donates oxygen generation system to Iraq, 28-Nov-2021 https://redcrossnorthland.org/news-coronavirus-response-nato-donates-oxygen-generation-system-to-iraq-28-nov-2021/ Tue, 30 Nov 2021 11:00:58 +0000 https://redcrossnorthland.org/news-coronavirus-response-nato-donates-oxygen-generation-system-to-iraq-28-nov-2021/

On November 28, 2021, Iraq received an oxygen generation system with a filling station as well as 100 oxygen cylinders from NATO’s pandemic response reserve, to help the country respond to infections in coronavirus. The NATO Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center, the NATO Supply and Support Agency and the NATO Mission in Iraq coordinated the donation in response to a Iraq’s request for assistance regarding COVID-19.

The transport of medical supplies to Iraq was provided by the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot of the World Food Program, following a request for support from the Euro-Atlantic Center for the Coordination of Disaster Response to the Ministry. Italian for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The procurement of the equipment and its transportation were coordinated by the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center, NATO Supply and Support Agency, NATO Mission in Iraq and the Italian delegation to NATO.

The donation has been turned over to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry and will increase Iraq’s medical capacity to deal with the pandemic. Additional support will be provided to Iraq for the installation and operation of the equipment.

In 2020, NATO established a Pandemic Response Trust Fund that maintains a stockpile of medical equipment and supplies to be able to provide immediate assistance to Allies or partners in need. Through the Pandemic Response Trust Fund, NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center has provided several tranches of COVID-19 assistance to 13 countries.

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State approves Valley Fire relief funds https://redcrossnorthland.org/state-approves-valley-fire-relief-funds/ Sun, 28 Nov 2021 13:00:30 +0000 https://redcrossnorthland.org/state-approves-valley-fire-relief-funds/

California officials have approved reimbursement funding of nearly $ 494,000 to help San Diego County cover the cost of debris removal and other programs in the wake of the Valley Fire. last year.

The total represents about 75 percent of the $ 658,600 San Diego County spent to clear debris and operate its consolidated trash program after the fire, which began in September last year in the Japatul Valley. , southeast of Alpine, and burned over 17,000 acres. damage or destroy dozens of homes, buildings and other structures.

In a press release Monday, Ryan Buras, deputy director of recovery for the California governor’s office of emergency services – or Cal OES – said the funding was intended to ease the burden of the fire and other programs. who help those affected by the fire.

“Helping cities and counties reduce the financial burden that responding to major forest fires and other disasters places on their budgets is a top priority for Cal OES,” said Buras. “We hope the nearly $ 500,000 in reimbursements, combined with reimbursements provided earlier this year, will help ease that burden and speed up recovery efforts in the county.”

In August, the county received $ 21,700 in reimbursements to help cover the costs of running a local assistance center, which provides government services to residents who have been affected by the wildfires.

The funds also helped pay for the removal and replacement of five road signs damaged by the valley fire.

San Diego County received funding under the California Disaster Assistance Act, which authorizes the director of Cal OES to provide financial assistance for costs incurred as a result of a disaster, such as wildfires.

Repairs, restoration or replacement of public property damaged or destroyed during disasters are all eligible for reimbursement when a state of emergency is declared.

Governor Newsom declared a state of emergency over the Valley fire in September 2020.

A bushfire encroaches along Japatul Road during the Jamul Valley fire in California on September 6, 2020.

(Photo by SANDY HUFFAKER / AFP via Getty Images)

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Deadline approaches for SBA disaster loans for property damage from contraband fire https://redcrossnorthland.org/deadline-approaches-for-sba-disaster-loans-for-property-damage-from-contraband-fire/ Sat, 27 Nov 2021 01:59:00 +0000 https://redcrossnorthland.org/deadline-approaches-for-sba-disaster-loans-for-property-damage-from-contraband-fire/

SACRAMENTO, California – December 27, 2021 is the deadline to apply for a federal SBA disaster loan for property damage from the Bootleg fire in Klamath County. That’s according to Director Tanya N. Garfield of the US Small Business Administration’s Midwest Field Disaster Operations. The loans are aimed at both businesses and residents. The fire broke out from July 6 to August 15, 2021.

According to Garfield, businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofits, landlords and tenants can apply for federal disaster loans from the SBA to repair or replace property damaged by the disaster. The SBA may also lend additional funds to help cover the cost of improvements to protect, prevent, or minimize the same type of damage from a disaster in the future.

These low interest federal disaster loans are available in Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lake and Lane counties in Oregon; and the counties of Modoc and Siskiyou in California.

Businesses of all sizes and private non-profit organizations can borrow up to $ 2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets.

In addition, the SBA provides economic disaster loans to small businesses, small farmer cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses, and most private non-profit organizations of any size to help meet working capital needs. caused by the disaster. Aid for economic damage is available whether the business has suffered material damage or not. The deadline to apply for an SBA Economic Disaster Loan is July 28, 2022.

Disaster loans of up to $ 200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and tenants are entitled to up to $ 40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates can be as low as 2.88% for businesses, 2% for private non-profit organizations, and 1.625% for landlords and tenants with terms of up to 30 years. The amounts and terms of the loan are set by the SBA and are based on the financial status of each applicant.

Applicants can apply online, receive additional information on disaster assistance, and download applications at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/. Applicants can also call the SBA Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email astercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA Disaster Assistance. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to US Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

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Farmers demand declaration of natural disaster https://redcrossnorthland.org/farmers-demand-declaration-of-natural-disaster/ Thu, 25 Nov 2021 01:42:00 +0000 https://redcrossnorthland.org/farmers-demand-declaration-of-natural-disaster/

NSW Farmers is calling for natural disaster declarations to allow relief funds to flow as torrential rains continue to soak large areas of the state, causing widespread flood damage.

State and federal leaders had pledged to provide disaster assistance to affected communities after flooding in the Lachlan Valley last week, but since then agricultural regions across the state have been inundated, with forecasts of further flooding in already flooded areas.

NSW Farmers Grains Committee Chairman Justin Everitt said members across the state were reporting pens underwater, with the emphasis shifting from saving the crop to minimizing damage to the land.

“We have had several heavy falls now and there is no doubt that the crops will be downgraded and we will see significant losses,” Mr. Everitt said.

“Part of agriculture is about nature, but it is cruel for our producers to see these incredible harvests – this potential income after so many years of drought – drown before they can be harvested.

“We urgently need a series of measures to help people start cleaning up and getting their lives back on track. “

Declaring natural disasters would provide government grants and concessional loans, while additional support to local communities will be needed to repair flood damaged roads, especially in regional communities. Mr Everitt also said targeted mental health support should go live as soon as possible.

“If you are not in an agriculture or a small rural community, it is difficult to understand the impact of this type of weather on people,” Mr. Everitt said.

“You look at the sky and try to predict what will happen next year, then you spend a huge amount of money to sow a crop in the hope that it will pay off for you and your family.

“Seeing those paddocks sink, it’s bank refunds, school fees, Christmas presents too, all those hopes swallowed up by all this water.”

/ Public distribution. This material from the original organization / authors may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author (s). here.

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Malaysia, United States begin bilateral exercise MTA Malaysia> U.S. Fleet Pacific> News https://redcrossnorthland.org/malaysia-united-states-begin-bilateral-exercise-mta-malaysia-u-s-fleet-pacific-news/ Tue, 23 Nov 2021 15:48:42 +0000 https://redcrossnorthland.org/malaysia-united-states-begin-bilateral-exercise-mta-malaysia-u-s-fleet-pacific-news/

MALACCA STRAIT – Military personnel from Malaysia and the United States launched Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Malaysia 2021 virtually and into the waters and airspace of the Strait of Malacca on November 23.

The eight-day engagement focuses on the full spectrum of naval capabilities and features cooperative developments that highlight the ability of the United States and Malaysia to work together toward the common goal of ensuring an Indo-Pacific free and open.

“Our commitment to devote resources to exercises is a testament to our innate belief in the power to share responsibility for ensuring regional security,” said Rear Admiral Chris Engdahl, Commander of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7 and Force operational (CTF) 76 “MTA Malaysia 2021 represents another step forward. “

The at-sea phase will take place in the Strait of Malacca, where U.S. Navy assets will join Royal Malaysian Navy ships and aircraft for partnership training focused on building interoperability and strengthening relationships. The ships and aircraft of the US Navy include the littoral combatant USS Tulsa (LCS 16) and the embarked Sea Hawk MH-60S helicopter of the Maritime Helicopter Squadron (HSC) 21 and a P- aircraft 8A Poseidon assigned to CTF 72.

The exercise will include complex at-sea training to demonstrate the ability of the bilateral force to work together through numerous events, including divisional tactics designed to improve communication as ships navigate together in complex maneuvers. Other areas of interest include surface warfare, mobile dive and rescue training, sea refueling, gunnery practice, and exchanges between explosive ordnance disposal technicians.

“The MTA has not only strengthened the bilateral ties between our nations, but also increased mutual understanding and interoperability between the two navies,” said Vice Admiral Datuk Abu Bakar bin Md Ajis, commander of the Western Fleet, Royal Malaysian Navy.

U.S. personnel include personnel from CTF 72, CTF 73, CTF 75, CTF 76, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, US 7th Fleet Band and the United States Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. Virtual Subject Matter Expert Exchange events will present a variety of joint training opportunities including Dive / Rescue Training, Aviation and Information Sharing, Force Protection, Maritime Awareness and maritime law and law enforcement.

Staff from the European Union’s Indo-Pacific Critical Maritime Routes Initiative (EU-CRIMARIO) intergovernmental organization will provide subject matter expertise to help understand the operational environment, and the 7th Fleet is keen to continue. this approach in future iterations.

At the opening ceremony, Engdahl spoke about the history of US-Malaysian cooperation and highlighted the foundation for successful partnerships.

“The US-Malaysian partnership builds on more than 60 years of rich history with close collaboration between the United States and the Royal Malaysian Navy in the areas of maritime security and humanitarian assistance / disaster relief. disaster, ”Engdahl said. “True partnership and progress require constant work. They require building trust, the courage to listen and learn from one another, and the courage to support one another in the face of common danger.

This year, MTA Malaysia resumed security mitigation measures after being canceled in 2020 due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Malaysia has been part of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) series of exercises since it began in 1995. MTA Malaysia 2021 is a continuation of 27 years of maritime engagements between the US Navy and the Royal Malaysian Navy serving to enhance mutual capabilities by ensuring maritime security and stability.

As a forward deployed destroyer squadron of the US Navy in Southeast Asia, DESRON 7 is the primary tactical and operational commander of the littoral combat vessels deployed in rotation to Singapore, functions as the combat commander of ESG 7, and establishes partnerships through training exercises and military-to-military engagements.

Under the command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, the 7th Fleet is the largest numbered forward deployed fleet of the US Navy, and regularly interacts and operates with 35 maritime nations to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

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Floods in British Columbia: Insurance will not cover landslide damage on private property https://redcrossnorthland.org/floods-in-british-columbia-insurance-will-not-cover-landslide-damage-on-private-property/ Mon, 22 Nov 2021 02:05:00 +0000 https://redcrossnorthland.org/floods-in-british-columbia-insurance-will-not-cover-landslide-damage-on-private-property/

Vancouver –

A family living near the shore of Harrison Lake is grateful they were not injured when a mudslide roared over their property during the height of heavy rain last weekend – but they were disappointed to learn that their owner’s insurance does not cover the cost of cleaning and repairs.

Mervyn Thomas said it was around 5:30 p.m. Sunday night when the slide fell.

“It looked like a freight train going through my living room,” he said. “Just crashing rocks and smashing trees and the creaking of trees is all I could hear. I’ve never felt that fear for my life, ever. I thought, ‘It is. like that I go out ‘.

The landslide destroyed two vehicles and a boat, destroyed the carport, damaged parts of the main house and buried the yard under six feet of trees, rocks and mud.

Thomas said ICBC would pay for damaged vehicles, but he was dismayed to learn that home insurance in Canada does not cover landslides – a phenomenon he never imagined could even occur on its property.

“And then when you do, and you find out you don’t have insurance, it’s actually heartbreaking,” he said.

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, landslide insurance is not even offered to homeowners.

“In these cases, if insurance coverage is not available, government supports were recently announced and we encourage people to explore these options and start this application process,” said Rob De Pruis of the IBC.

The province this week announced a disaster financial assistance plan, which will cover 80 percent of eligible damage costs up to $ 300,000 for properties damaged in the storm.

In February 2020, a different atmospheric river dropped more than 100 millimeters of rain in the area, wiping out a mile-long section of Rockwell Drive near Thomas’ home and forcing evacuations.

With so much severe weather happening in British Columbia over the past two years, Thomas worries it will only be a matter of time before something similar happens.

“I am really concerned about climate change. We’ve had all the forest fires in the summer, the extreme heat and now extreme rains, ”he said. “Seems like everything has changed and everything is going to extremes now.”

He estimates that cleaning and repairs to his property could cost around $ 50,000 and he does not yet know how much of that could be covered by the province’s disaster assistance plan.

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Refugee case manager helps Afghans thrive in new life https://redcrossnorthland.org/refugee-case-manager-helps-afghans-thrive-in-new-life/ Sat, 20 Nov 2021 14:30:21 +0000 https://redcrossnorthland.org/refugee-case-manager-helps-afghans-thrive-in-new-life/

Sarwar Hawez, right, a self-reliance case manager for Catholic Charities’ Refugee and Immigration Services in the Diocese of Nashville, Tenn., Escorts the Akbar family out of the Nashville International Airport after their arrival on November 1, 2021. They are four of 300 Afghans resettled in Nashville with the help of Catholic Charities. (CNS Photo / Katie Peterson, Tennesse Register)

NASHVILLE – Sarwar Hawez is one of eight case managers assisting Afghans who will be resettled in Nashville after being evacuated from Kabul, Afghanistan, following the Taliban takeover.

He’s been a Self-Sufficiency Case Manager with Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigration Services in the Diocese of Nashville since 2003, and he wouldn’t want it any other way.

“I like being a case manager to see different people, different attitudes, different psychology, different cultures,” Hawez said. “Every day I learn new things. I like the job. Even though I work Saturdays and Sundays, I don’t care.

Catholic Charities aid is part of the US Department of State’s Afghan Placement Assistance program. Refugees resettled under the program are generally self-sufficient within six to eight months of arrival.

In addition to his dedication, Hawez brings something else to his work: he understands the experience of the arrival of Afghans having been a refugee himself in 1997. He and his family were evacuated from Kurdistan in the north from Iraq to Guam then to Nashville by the World Relief Agency.

As of October 31, 85 of the Afghans who were due to be resettled in Nashville had arrived, and Hawez is currently overseeing nine of those cases.

That number will only increase in the coming months, as new developments in the program were announced on November 9, as the U.S. military and State Department work to speed up evacuees from military bases. by February 15.

“Based on the successful partnerships that Catholic Charities was able to forge, including housing options, volunteers, faith communities and employers, when the federal government asked us to increase capacity, Catholic Charities agreed to increase our number of Afghan arrivals to 300 from the 150 originally planned, ”said Judy Orr, Executive Director of Catholic Charities.

With the increase in the number of arrivals comes the increased importance of case managers such as Hawez.

The job of the case manager is to welcome refugee families to Nashville when they arrive at the airport and help them meet their basic needs until they become self-sufficient.

“We call it basic services, which are housing, food stamps, social security, medical care, ID cards, and employment,” Hawez told the Tennessee Register, the diocesan newspaper. of Nashville.

Kellye Branson, director of refugee and immigration services, said case managers are among the most essential parts of the department.

“They are critical. They are the first to come into contact with our customers. They basically set the stage for the interaction between our agency and the people we serve, ”said Branson. “They are responsible for not only getting people to dates, but also paying attention to any concerns that may be present whether they are expressed or not.”

Case managers “are the eyes and ears of our department,” she added.

They see what “customer needs, what are their fears,” and “respond to,” as well as provide customers with information and answers to their questions, Branson added.

“They let them know what it’s going to be in the next few months, they calm their nerves if they are worried about how they are going to pay for their apartments,” she explained.

Case managers also connect refugees with the community and other resources they can ask questions about and “help clients articulate their goals and needs so that we can also incorporate this part of the plan (resettlement ), “she said.

“They are the ones who take the pulse of the families we serve,” added Branson. “We are counting on them to come back and let us know what this family needs and then to work to find the resources for them. “

Regarding the link between his experience and the current situation in Kabul, Hawez said: “History has repeated itself.”

Its evacuation came after Saddam Hussein tried to oppress the Kurdish people after the end of the First Gulf War, 1990-1991.

Like many Afghans who found new life in Nashville, Hawez worked with the US military before becoming a refugee. He worked with the Organization for the Reconstruction of Kurdistan, which met weekly with the US Office for Disaster Assistance Abroad.

“Saddam has ordered that anyone who has worked with a foreign agency, especially with a US office or agency, be executed,” Hawez said.

But he also recognizes that the situation is different for everyone, and the two oppressions are different, which is why he only focuses on the service he provides.

“This question is complicated because each individual has a different perspective,” he said. “I’m so happy to bring more Afghans to Nashville.

“I like helping refugees, especially those who don’t speak English as well and need help to adapt and integrate into this society.

Delays in the provision of some services, due to bureaucratic changes in how and where refugees apply for benefits, have not made the resettlement process easy.

Nonetheless, Hawez wishes to provide the best possible service to its Afghan customers.

“I am committed to encouraging them and letting them know that they are in a safe place, in a good place and in a good system, and that everything in the future will be good for their families and that they will have a better life here, ”said Hawez.

“They have a good opportunity not just for education,” he added, “but for getting a job and building a really good life in America.”

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