Midland County’s Long Term Disaster Recovery Group is pleased to announce that three case managers have been hired to provide support and resources for Midland County residents impacted by the flood.

In addition, a construction manager and volunteer manager have joined the team to support recovery efforts. Case managers will also be available to help people apply for FEMA and advocate for them in the FEMA process.

The Long Term Disaster Recovery Group is working collaboratively to lead recovery and rebuild efforts. Made up of a broad representation of philanthropy organizations, nonprofits, businesses, government, faith community, civic groups and schools, they are working together to chart a path forward.

“We understand there are a lot of questions people have as they navigate the rebuilding process of their homes and lives,” said Holly Miller, president and CEO of United Way of Midland County. “Case managers play a vital role and will help guide people through the process, support them throughout their journey and help connect them with vital financial, volunteer, materials and human service resources.”

Over 2,400 homes reported flood damage in Midland County, causing an estimated $100 million in residential damage. To support the recovery efforts, the group has identified six key focus areas: financial support, volunteer coordination, housing, rebuild & construction, public relations and case management.

“There is no single funder, including FEMA who can make everyone whole,” shared Nancy Money, Coordinator for Disaster Recovery Ministries for The Michigan Conference of The United Methodist Church. “Our priority to ensure homes are safe and livable to provide stability for families. This requires a systematic, collaborative approach that leverages federal, state and local dollars along with volunteers and in-kind donated materials.”

Money shared that the recovery process will be driven by the case management team to support and guide individuals through the rebuild journey. They will work closely with the construction manager to assess homeowner needs, remediation completeness and develop plans. Those plans will be presented to the funding group where dollars and in-kind donations will be deployed, along with potential volunteer support to ensure local dollars can help as many people as possible.

Money shared that this best-practice disaster response strategy is being deployed by all major flooding funders and will help us stretch limited local dollars to impact the most families.

The case management team and construction manager will work under UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) and are grant funded by UMCOR and through the Flood Recovery Fund at the Midland Area Community Foundation. The recovery volunteer manager is part of United Way of Midland County’s team. Two case managers will work out of the United Way office in downtown Midland with another stationed at Meridian Elementary School in Sanford.

“The Midland Area Community Foundation believes by focusing on long-term flood recovery, we’re maximizing contributions to our Flood Relief Fund,” said Alysia Christy, Director of Community Impact at the Midland Area Community Foundation and Co-Chair of the Long Term Recovery Financial Resource Deployment Sub-Group. “We want to be very intentional on where we spend our dollars. We understand that by focusing on the future of our community and investing in case management, we’re investing in a long term recovery plan that avoids duplication, maximizes resources and provides equitable access for all.”

Case managers will also provide emotional support and help connect people with the additional resources they need to insure well-being during this difficult chapter.

In addition to case management, the Long Term Disaster Recovery Group is providing community members with tips for how to avoid those who attempt fraud during this recovery phase.

“Our community has been so blessed by so many helpers coming from across the street and across the country,” Miller said. “But during every major disaster, there’s always the opportunity for fraud. In order to protect our citizens and also to honor legitimate organizations coming to help, we have a few pointers to help a homeowner as they navigate contractors and other people who are offering to help.”

Here are three tips on how to avoid fraudulent behavior:

  • Utilize common sense. Never pay more than one-third of the cost to the contractor prior to the work being complete.
  • Do research. Get two quotes to ensure you are paying fair market value.
  • Check references. Ask for proof of insurance and a copy of license to ensure you are working with licensed contractor. Check references.

Case managers will be available via phone Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment at 989-374-8000.