Hurricane Relief Success
Our Southern Vermont community was the epicenter for Hurricane Irene, leaving behind scenes of a post apocalyptic disaster. Families watched their homes float down river, businesses were damaged leaving many faced with no home, no business, no land, yet mortgages and the burden of expenses.
Shortly after Irene, the Stratton Foundation began receiving donations from generous donors. Our team worked to maximize FEMA dollars and helped many people apply for and appeal their FEMA paperwork, as well as, aided with flood and homeowner insurance problems. After these funds were tapped, unmet needs were then assessed.
We developed a successful comprehensive quick-response strategy for addressing our area’s requirements, and word of the Foundation’s success spread throughout the state. Our team was asked to present their work to FEMA’s HQ and FEMA’s Long-term Recovery Committees. We reached out to over 350 people who filed FEMA claims. Those who were in need of more assistance were very grateful for our support. Dozens of people received resource guidance, clothing, food, appliances, cleanup assistance and money to offset costs of repairs. Many businesses received money for inventory and equipment losses.
We have raised over $400k to distribute to families and businesses who suffered great loss. We are very pleased to be part of Vermont’s recovery and feel that due to generous donors from all over the countryside, the people in the Stratton area were cared for in a manner which exceeded expectations and has become a model for the state. Our community endures.
Articles on Vermont Public Radio
Stratton Stepped Up for Hurricane Irene Relief (8/24/12)
After Narrowly Surviving Irene, Wardsboro Family Waits For Resolution (2/02/12)
After Irene, Londonderry Family Counts Blessings (2/03/12)
Towns Create Roadmap For Long Term Recovery (10/24/11)
Irene Fundraising Efforts Spring Up Across State (9/12/11)
||THE ANNIVERSARY OF IRENE
Posted: August 30, 2012
Click to Listen to Vermont Public Radio Interview about Stratton Foundation 8.24.2012 | Stratton Stepped Up for Hurricane Irene Relief
Vermont will be experiencing a host of emotions as we recognize the upcoming one-year anniversary of Hurricane Irene that slammed our state last August 28, 2011. While the storm tore apart towns, battered landscapes, and broke hearts, it strangely created opportunities for giving, volunteering and actions which strenghtened our communities. There have been episodes of success, signs of progress, yet ongoing needs and challenges being endured.
Roads and bridges were repaired in record time. Heroes emerged from fire, police, and medical teams. Individuals, children, schools, sports teams, clubs, and entire towns realized a new purpose in volunteering and power in fundraising.
For those who lost much, endured great expenses yet are healing from the storm, the date will forever mark a victory of resilience. The Stratton Foundation is proud to have raised over $450,000, reached out to 300 people and distributed over 75% of these funds to 75+ families, businesses and organizations to help repair, rebuild, and replace what was lost.
However, those who lost their entire homes and property are struggling to find a new normal as they continue to work through government bureaucracy. The anniversary will be a frustrating reminder that they are still waiting for FEMA Hazard Mitigation and state funding to close on their property sales. To ease the wait, the Stratton Foundation has advanced $160,000 to these families, but a significant endowment remains to further supplement government resources, should they fall short. The Stratton Foundation must also wait to fulfill our promise to these families that they will receive the full assessed value of their properties.
So as you feel pride in your contribution, gratitude in the support provided by neighbors and friends, and share in the sadness of loss to your town or neighbors, know that the Stratton Foundation shares in these feelings as well.
Many towns are planning unifying activities on August 28th such as river walks, community suppers, or simply a ringing of church bells around the state at 7.p.m. For a listing of other Irene anniversary events, visit www.vtstrong.vermont.gov.
Kevin & I were deeply overwhelmed by the generosity of your Foundation. So many lives were changed by Irene and it is heartwarming to know there are organizations out there with caring people to help.
Thank you again - warm regards,
Kevin & Dana Ladd
Dear Directors, Administrators, and Donors of the Stratton Foundation,
Thank you for your generous check to help [our business] recover from Irene. In addition, John & I want to thank you for your moral support. We felt sad and discouraged and your help and assistance has helped us get back on our feet. John & I feel better knowing you care.
ON NEW YEAR'S DAY
CHECKS WERE DELIVERED TO
Dawn Kelly &
TO REPAIR SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE DONE TO THEIR HOMES BY HURRICANE IRENE IN THE TOWNS OF
ARLINGTON & DORSET
When Patti and Al paid their first visit to Mark's home they were met by his stepfather. Mark was visiting his ill wife who was being moved to hospice. Mark's step-dad and mom were working at a furious pace to fix up their son's home so he could grant his wife's wish to be home for her last days. Patti helped with FEMA work, checked in and a dehumidifier was delivered. Mark was able to grant his wife's last wish and after her passing funds were given to Mark to repair his foundation.
|2011 YEAR END
Update Posted: January 11, 2012
Shortly after Hurricane Irene, the Stratton Foundation began receiving donations from generous donors. Realizing our obligation to responsibly disburse these contributions, we brought on board two case managers, Al Rogers and Patti Komline. Our team, anchored by Tammy Mosher in the Foundation office, has spent the last three months reaching out to those in our region and helping them in a variety of ways. They worked to maximize FEMA dollars and helped many people apply for and appeal their FEMA paperwork, as well as, aided with flood and homeowner insurance problems. After these funds were tapped, unmet needs were then assessed.
Al and Patti developed a successful comprehensive quick-response strategy for addressing our area's requirements, and word of the Foundation's success spread throughout the state. Our team was asked to present their work to FEMA's HQ in Burlington and then went on to make the same presentation to a number of FEMA's Long-term Recovery Committees. Originally, our strategy was for the Foundation's funds to be directed to Jamaica, Londonderry, Stratton, Weston, Wardsboro. Given a Federal buy-out program offered by FEMA for those homes that were destroyed, we began managing your donations, to branch out and offer our help to the rest of the towns in the Stratton Foundation's region. Al and Patti were able to reach out to over 350 people who filed FEMA claims. The majority had received sufficient support and didn't need further help. Those who were in need of more assistance were very grateful for our support. Dozens of people received resource guidance, clothing, food, appliances, cleanup assistance and money to offset costs of repairs. Many businesses received money for inventory and equipment losses. Just last week a referral came in for a woman who lives alone in a vulnerable state and still doesn't have hot water, three months after the storm. Our job is not done.
We are very pleased to be part of Vermont's recovery and feel, due to your generosity and our quick action the people in the Stratton area were cared for in a manner which exceeded our expectations and has become a model for the state. We couldn't have done it without your support, and we hope you are as proud to be a part of this effort as we are. We truly thank you.
For the period September 1 thru December 31, 2011, the Relief Fund has been set to a fully funded budget level of $434,600. This budget includes an escrow amount of $269,500 committed to six candidates who lost their homes and property during the storm. This money will be used to supplement a FEMA option each of our six candidates is applying for. Basically, this option is structured for FEMA to gift each approved applicant, 75% of the pre-storm assessed value of their property. The Stratton Foundation will gift the remaining 25%. The town will then own the land, and it will remain "green space" forever.
The Relief fund budget to date, has already gifted $47,950 to homeowners who experienced significant, but repairable, interior and exterior damage from the storm. $45,500 to small businesses needing assistance, and $7,280 in miscellaneous gifts for washers, dryers, de-humidifiers, freezers, clothing, etc. This yields approximately $67,000 in contingency, at our current budgeted level.
OVER $25,000 DISTRIBUTED TO LOCAL SMALL BUSINESSES!
Update Posted: November 28, 2011
To date, the Stratton Foundation has raised $400,000 with a current Hurricane Relief budget of $540,000. Our major focus at this time is working through the logistics of FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. This program centers on a purchase option for homeowners who lost more than half of their property value. With this, the town takes ownership of the property and the owner receives about 75% of the assessed value of their land from FEMA. The Stratton Foundation Relief Fund will supplement the FEMA program to help these individuals and families to rebuild their lives and be financially empowered to return to pre-Irene conditions.
Our Project team has been working with town officials and property owners to coordinate this effort and ensure that this competitive grant process moves smoothly. We have six families and individuals who are applying and we have allocated significant funds for this program while we await notification of eligibility, which will be in mid-March.
The Stratton Foundation has disbursed over $45,000 to date. Your contributions enabled a retired couple to begin repairs on their storm ravaged home, and purchased various items such as a freezer for a taxidermist and a dryer for a family of five. Local businesses recently shared in $25,000 to replace lost products and appliances, and to repair significant interior and exterior damage to property.
Our team is working with many families, gathering building contracting quotes and helping to guide them towards a responsible recovery plan. They are also meeting with local businesses to assess their losses and will be sending them funds in the next couple of weeks.
We are committed that the distribution of funds be deliberate and time sensitive. We made sure weeks ago that immediate safety needs were met and we have learned that, due to state and federal programs, it is imperative that we thoroughly vet other financial options before relying on donated funds.
We have received a lot of positive feedback from the community and want all of our donors to share in the gratitude we have received on your behalf. "It's just terrific what you are all doing and it goes beyond neighbor helping neighbor,' offered David Hoopes, member of the Watastiquet Rotary Club; and "I wanted to let you know how impressed we all are with your (Stratton Foundation Project Team) efforts to assist the communities you are working with" said Denise Morgan Gilliam, Branch Director of FEMA's Long Term Recovery.
The Stratton Foundation continues to represent hundreds of people who have donated to the Hurricane Relief Fund to help the people in our mountain community.
THE STRATTON FOUNDATION HAS A BIG HEAD START!
Update Posted: November 2, 2011
The Stratton Foundation's Irene Disaster Relief Committee is now four weeks into the recovery program. Our community's need is great and our Project Management Team of Patti Komline and Al Rogers has been working with over 40 individuals and families in Jamaica, Londonderry, and Wardsboro who require varying degrees of assistance.
Initial steps in the recovery program involved identifying people needing aid, assessing and addressing their immediate safety concerns, and helping guide them through the entire FEMA process in order to assure they receive all funds they are entitled to. Patti and Al also provide guidance, goods and services where needed, and resource connections for things such as; disaster unemployment assistance, various grants, and contacts for clothing and furniture, and are still receiving referrals. In addition, a local Red Cross couple trained in Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome has been recruited to provide counseling services to those who are interested in seeking help. Many of these activities are proactive steps, which should help prevent greater problems in the months to follow.
Our Team has also developed a ten-step project plan to restore the quality of life for those affected by the storm and require major repair and rebuilding. This overall plan was developed by reaching out to those with a great deal of experience in disaster recovery and rebuilding damaged communities. They have consulted with several senior people at Habitat for Humanity and the founder of The St. Bernards Project in New Orleans, and have spent a great deal of time discussing recovery options with the victims in our communities.
The next immediate steps will be to continue with quick wins toward recovery. The longer range and more costly plan involves rebuilding or providing financial assistance towards the purchase of another home.
The Team has already designed an overall plan that will use volunteers and in-kind services to reduce costs and at the same time, achieve the best quality of life possible for those affected by the storm. The budget to achieve this long-range plan will be completed shortly, however actual implementation may be delayed until towns decide how and when land will be restored.
In the meantime, Al and Patti are working to ensure that people who lost their homes are being placed in quality temporary facilities until spring of next year.
FEMA representatives were getting around to Vermont counties in the last few weeks outlining their Long Term Recovery Planning committee guidelines. These include: Disaster Case Management, Volunteer Coordination, Construction Project Management, Community Assessment, Finance & In-Kind Contributions and Crisis Counseling. They have reported that the recovery period is two and a half to three years. The Stratton Foundation is pleased that we have a big head start in our community and that is all thanks to our generous donors.
The support the Stratton Foundation has received is already making a difference. We have much to do and with continued support we will work to successfully rebuild people's homes, lives, and our communities.
For more information about the Stratton Foundation, the Hurricane Relief Fund or to speak with Patti Komline or Al Rogers, please contact Tammy Mosher at the Stratton Foundation (802) 297-2096 or firstname.lastname@example.org.