Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What does office space have to do with Flood Recovery?

by Patricia Billinger
Housing, food, clothing, back hoes rebuilding roads, volunteers mucking out homes: these are the interesting, visual, visceral types of help we think of first when we think of disaster recovery.

Office space and office supplies don’t elicit the same level of excitement and energy.

Nevertheless, in order to help Colorado residents severely affected by last September’s devastating floods, disaster case managers need a private place to meet with them.  A space where impacted residents, with the help of their case manager, can explore in confidence their needs, concerns and recovery plans and get connected to available resources.

Until now, residents in the mountain communities in Boulder County area have not had a dedicated space available to meet with their disaster case managers to get assistance; many of these mountain communities simply do not have a wealth of spare space to conduct such business.

But thanks to a community partnership, that’s about to change.

Together, we’re literally building capacity to deliver long-term flood recovery aid to residents in Lyons and the surrounding mountain communities.

The 4-Mile Store is a local, community-driven resource exchange that opened after the Four Mile Canyon fire to provide resources to impacted families.  The 4-Mile Store is again helping residents in Boulder County.  They opened a temporary space off of Hwy. 66 after the floods to provide the residents of Lyons and the surrounding impacted mountain communities the opportunity to fill some of their resource needs locally without having to travel to Boulder.

“It’s a wonderful community resource.  Under the guidance of local community leaders, the plan is to use this great resource space and resources from the Red Cross and Christian Disaster Relief to address some of the community’s need for office space,” explained Red Cross Recovery Specialist Mary Steffens. “The plan is to build out a small office in that space so case managers will have the ability to meet with impacted residents privately and in the convenience of their own home town.”

This week, the Red Cross purchased all the building materials necessary to construct a small, temporary office space. All the materials were purchased from a local hardware store in Longmont in order to contribute towards the economic recovery of flood-affected businesses.

Volunteers from Christian Disaster Relief will donate their construction skills and time to building the office. The Christian Disaster Relief Volunteers are already in Lyons helping rebuild individual homes, and will use their skills to contribute to this community project.

When finished, this temporary office space will enable long-term recovery case managers to meet with their individual clients in a private space.

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