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Funding for disaster case managers pledged for last summer's fire survivors

 


Two full-time contractors will assist survivors of fires in Okanogan, Douglas, and Chelan counties and the Colville reservation with funds pledged this week.

A group of Washington nonprofits active in fire recovery efforts have committed one year’s funding for two full-time disaster case managers (DCMs) for survivors of this summer’s wildfires.

At a meeting in Nespelem during the fires, bewildered land owners learning about programs that might help said a guide is needed to help them through the maze of paperwork required to get assistance from government agencies. And more than 100 cases are still pending from the devastating 2014 fires. This week’s announcment addresses this year’s needs.

The contributing organizations include the Community Foundation of North Central Washington (CFNCW) at $50,000, the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Methodist Church (PNWUMC) at $25,000, Room One at $20,000, and Chelan Valley Hope at an initial $6,000.

The additional funds will continue DCM contracts through October 2016.

“We’re extremely grateful to have received this funding,” said Carlene Anders, executive director of the Okanogan County Long Term Recovery Group (OCLTRG). “Disaster case managers are the pivotal key to a well-vetted system and solid point of contact with fire survivors. They listen to individuals needing assistance, refer them to resources, help them develop recovery plans, represent their needs at the Unmet Needs Committee roundtable, and interface with our volunteer coordinator and reconstruction manager. All of our assistance efforts funnel through disaster case managers.”

Jessica Martin, a disaster case manager for the Carlton Complex Long Term Recovery Group, officially contracted with the Okanogan County Long Term Recovery Group as of November 1, 2015; however, she had been working with survivors of the Okanogan County, Line Belt, Tunk Block, Twisp River, and other 2015 wildfires for months prior. She has had her hands full assessing the needs of 176 clients to date and, with several volunteers, has provided preliminary assistance to dozens of them. OCLTRG will contract with a second fulltime DCM following an advertised search.

Candidates interested in the DCM position should visit the OkanoganCountyRecovery.com website and send a resumé and cover letter to Carlene Anders, at carltoncomplexrebuild@gmail.com.

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