|e-News, October 2011|
North Dakota Housing, like a lot of others, has been working to make sure victims of this year’s flooding are linked up with the right resources. Navigating the recovery landscape can be complicated and that’s where the Resources Agencies Flood Team (RAFT) is trying to help out.
RAFT is a statewide collaboration of faith-based and non-profit organizations that provides case management services to flood survivors. RAFT first started working following the Red River flood in Grand Forks in 1997.
According to Ward County RAFT supervisor, the Rev. Debra Ball-Kilbourne, there are currently more than 500 households registered and under case management in the Minot area and she expects up to 800 by the December 1 registration deadline. “Everyone that registers with us is accepted. We turn no one away,” she said. “Anyone with any flood damage we want to encourage to register with us so we can try to help them out.”
Once an application is received, one of the 23 case managers working in the Minot area is assigned and contacts the applicant to begin developing a recovery plan.
Case managers walk with disaster survivors through the process of determining needs and identifying available resources for rebuilding their homes and lives. “When it’s appropriate, we direct clients to North Dakota Housing as one of our housing resources,” said Ball-Kilbourne. “There are some tough housing cases and having someone like NDHFA to send people to is helpful.”
Any unmet needs are taken anonymously by case managers to a local committee for possible funding. In Minot that committee is the Souris River Valley Unmet Needs Committee which meets weekly to hear cases.
“There is a point system to score the clients’ needs and cases are funded based on those points,” said Ball-Kilbourne.
While the Minot committee has some funding, they hope to raise much more to provide more assistance directly to affected residents. Donations may be sent to the Souris Valley United Way in care of the recovery committee. Information is available at www.svunitedway.com.
More volunteer case managers are also needed to provide support and advice to flood survivors. Anyone interested may contact Ball-Kilbourne by calling 701-799-1400.
RAFT applications for flood survivors must be received by December 1 and are available online at www.co.ward.nd.us/emergency-management or may be picked up at the Ward County Extension Service office, Community Action, North Central Human Service Center or the Ward County Social Services Assistance office.
Similar case management efforts are underway in the Bismarck-Mandan area for residents affected by Missouri River flooding. The Rev. Steve Behrens is coordinating the RAFT response and Missouri Slope United Way is acting as fiscal agent for the Burleigh-Morton Flood Recovery Fund. Information on donating to the fund or to find a RAFT application may be found at http://msaunitedway.org/Home_Page.php.
North Dakota Housing Finance Agency
2624 Vermont Avenue, PO Box 1535, Bismarck, ND 58502-1535
Bismarck Main Office -- (701) 328-8080 | Nation Wide Toll Free (800) 292-8621 | Fax (701) 328-8090 | TTY (800) 366-6888
Fargo Field Office -- (701) 239-7255 | ND Toll Free (877) 239-3200 | Fax (701) 239-7257 | TTY(800) 366-6888
Equal Housing Opportunity