The aftermath of the 2018 floods continues to affect the lives of many in Crawford, La Crosse, Monroe and Vernon counties. As summer approaches, survivors would like their lives to return to normalcy. As an area who has seen repeated weather events, it is important to note that recovery happens in stages.

The initial disaster response focused on the important work of addressing the immediate needs of those forced out of their homes by flood waters. The second stage is the time frame in which survivors reported damage and applied for insurance and FEMA benefits.

The last and longest stage in the process is long-term recovery. This stage can last months or even years. The Long-Term Recovery Group (LTRG)-Region 1, which was organized after the 2007 flood events, has been meeting since September to implement a strategic approach to flood recovery in our area.

Funding for case management and unmet needs have been solicited. Case managers have been hired and will be based out of Couleecap’s Westby office. Case managers will work side-by-side with survivors to develop their recovery plan and determine how to obtain the funding to implement their plan, whether it is from government funds or private funds, including the LTRG Unmet Needs Funds. Small businesses will also be served through this program.

Every dollar of the individual and business contributions to the Long-Term Recovery Fund goes directly to help families in this area. As the fiscal agent, the Wisconsin Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster 501©3 does not retain any fees to cover administrative and processing costs.

There is still much work to be done and families to help. If you know of individuals and families who are struggling to recover from the effects of the flood, please encourage them to contact the Long-Term Recovery Group at ltrg.region1@gmail.com. More information can also be found on the group’s website, www.r2rdr.org. If you would like to donate to help the recovery of so many, funds can be sent to the Long-Term Recovery Group, c/o Michele, Westby Coon Prairie Church, 500 S. Main St., Westby, WI 54667. Checks should be made out to LTRG-Reg 1.

Experience with previous floods tells us that we will be working with recovery issues for the next 12 to 18 months. The many partners of the LTRG will continue to stand by the flood survivors on their journey back to stability.

Partnering agencies and organizations include: Couleecap, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Great Rivers United Way, Scenic Bluffs Health Center, Organic Valley/CROPP, Lutheran Social Services, Lutheran Disaster Services, United Methodists (UMCOR), WHEDA, WEDC, La Crosse and Vernon County Rotary, Western Technical College, 2-1-1, FEMA, Wisconsin Emergency Management, Crawford, La Crosse, Monroe, and Vernon County Emergency Management, Viroqua Church of Christ, Westby Coon Prairie Lutheran Church, St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Coon Valley, WCCU, Vernon County Economic Development, Community Development Alternatives, La Crosse Area Synod of the ELCA, WI VOAD and World Renew

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