After a disaster, the assistance provided by government agencies can be limited and sometimes insufficient. In these cases, independent, nonprofit organizations can help communities begin to rebuild.

Adriana Akinwande, human services coordinator with the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs’ Division of Emergency Management, said the state works with Arizona’s volunteer organizations active in disaster and disaster relief. other private sector organizations to help meet the needs of disaster victims.

“Sometimes the county will say, ‘Do you have a contact for this need?’ And then we will seek a focus and partners to help fill those gaps,” Akinwande said.

Arizona VOAD is a nonprofit organization that serves more than 57 organizations that provide disaster-related services. Member organizations can be faith-based, community-based, other non-profit and governmental organizations. The list includes several organizations like Team Rubicon, a nonprofit that helps with debris management, quick home repairs, and risk mitigation.

The list contains addresses and contact details for each organization. Here are some of the main organizations that help repair damage to homes.

How does the Red Cross help after a natural disaster?

The Red Cross is the main shelter organization. Jim Gilloo, spokesman for the Red Cross, said the organization was making a “temporary solution” to care for and shelter families who were evacuated.

“The main purpose of these shelters is to make sure everyone is comfortable, has a safe place to stay, food to eat and other essential supports. We have mental health volunteers and we have doctors on board if anyone needs attention,” Gilloo said.

Shelters are usually placed in school gymnasiums so that people can have access to showers, toilets and rest areas. The Red Cross is also partnering with other organizations, such as the Salvation Army, to provide resources such as meals, snacks and water to evacuees.

People working in shelters can provide information on who to contact to retrieve important documents. The Red Cross can also meet immediate needs like clothing and toiletries.

Gilloo said if anyone is ordered to evacuate and needs a place to shelter, they can call 1-800 RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), download the app or go to his website at to find shelter locations. .

Gilloo said the Red Cross assesses the cases of families who have been affected and sometimes they help them with funding for immediate needs.

“We will give you funding so that you can stay up, take care of your family and possibly, if the shelter closes, we will put you in a hotel until you get help from your insurance company. But it’s not everyone, it really depends on each individual,” Gilloo said.

Children's toys are covered in dirt and sediment outside a home in Campbell Corridor after persistent flooding Friday, August 19, 2022 in Flagstaff.

How the Salvation Army can help after a disaster

The Salvation Army is also present during a natural disaster. The organization provides “food services, emotional and spiritual care,” according to Major David Yardley, general secretary of affairs for the Southwest Division of the Salvation Army. On some occasions, they gave out clothing vouchers.

The organization also helps with donation management to ensure items reach those who need them.

The Salvation Army’s website says they are working with local, state and federal governments to form a plan that addresses restoration and reconstruction projects with financial assistance and donations.

Yardley said every disaster is handled differently, and when funding is available, the Salvation Army helps with long-term recovery with things like gift cards, utilities or a place to stay in disasters. first months.

“We’re trying to connect (people) with all the resources available to them that have been known and make sure they’re where their next step is and help them out,” Yardley said. “And if we are there, if we have our service unit, we will continue to work with them, even if it may take a year, a year and a half as long as the resources are there.”

When there is a disaster, different organizations, including the Salvation Army, are present in the shelters or centers that have been set up so that people know what resources are available to them. Another way to reach The Salvation Army is to find the nearest center phone or address through their website.

Residents were evacuated from this flooded area after heavy monsoon rain last night, flood lines are visible on houses and residents were forced to sit on rooftops in Gila Bend, August 14, 2021 .

How Centraide helps

One organization that could be a good start for people in need who don’t know what resources are available to help them is United Way.

Joshua Pedersen, acting senior director of 211 at United Way, said the organization was designed to help connect people to community programs and services. The 211 service, which works closely with the United Way and is operated with different organizations, is a source of information on local resources and services across the county.

“We are sort of this community connector. So when people don’t know where to turn, the 211 or United Way helpline can be that link to available community programs. And again, it’s meant to supplement or fill in gaps where FEMA or private insurance might not be available,” Pedersen said.

Calls to the 211 hotline are anonymous, according to Pedersen.

People can call 211 for different types of support such as information about health services, emergency food services or the food distribution site, Pedersen said. They also partner with transportation programs and after-school programs, among others.

“211 can help them learn about available services, whether it’s low-cost housing, utility programs, or just getting back on their feet, finding child care programs, or accessing to transportation services, that sort of thing,” Pedersen said.

Since housing can be essential in a disaster, Pedersen said United Way is looking for “creative” ways to help people access it. He also said United Work works closely with housing programs such as the Continuum of Care and the Housing Authority.

Assistance can include rapid relocation programs, vouchers for subsidized rent, or home ownership programs, where people might get a grant from the government or a non-profit organization for a down payment. United Way can also connect people, such as elderly residents, with redress programs.

“It’s a bit of that spectrum. … Whether it’s being homeless or trying to get government help or trying to buy your own house or if you have a house try to keep it, that’s where United Way can intervene. … We really want to meet people where they are and help them succeed in becoming independent or self-sufficient as much as possible,” Pedersen said.

United Way also helps fund nonprofit programs that are in place to help those in need, Pedersen said. He said when United Way receives monetary donations or goods, they coordinate to route them to organizations that provide services directly to people in need.

“We can step in and say, can we help you with a grant to open the funding or do you need donations directed to you. United Way is that unifier or philanthropic leader that helps bring together some of the resources to help fight a wildfire,” Pedersen said.

In addition to calling 211 or going to their website for advice on resources, people can also go to the United Way website and search for their local website.

In some cases, United Way partners with the county to address a community issue.

Contact breaking news reporter Angela Cordoba Perez at [email protected] or on Twitter @AngelaCordobaP.

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