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Family Assistance Center Offers One-stop Service For Tornado Victims

ADAMHS Associate Director, Jodi Long (center-left) welcomes new volunteers in the backstage operations center at the Family Assistance Center.
Jerry Kenney
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ADAMHS Associate Director, Jodi Long (center-left) welcomes new volunteers in the backstage operations center at the Family Assistance Center.

Inside the auditorium at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Shiloh Springs Rd in Dayton, workers from a number of local agencies sit at tables stacked with informational brochures and forms to be filled out. Joining the workers at most of the tables are local residents seeking their help.

The church is temporarily home to a so-called Family Assitance Center - a partnership of local service agencies and Montgomery County.

Those gathered at the center Wednesday afternoon have come seeking provisional IDs, Medicaid or Medicare replacement cards, senior services, or housing and transportation assistance. Those are just some of the services storm-affected residents may need as they continue to assess their losses.

For more than two weeks, social service agencies have stepped up their efforts to help local residents in Montgomery County after a Memorial Day tornado outbreak destroyed hundreds of homes and displaced thousands of residents in Dayton and Montgomery County.

In order to make getting help even easier, the county’s Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services agency (ADAMHS) has opened the centerto give residents access to multiple agencies at one location. 

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Credit Jerry Kenney
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The Family Assistance Center is located at 1500 Shiloh Springs Rd in Dayton (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).

ADAMHS Associate Director, Jodi Long, says the temporary Family Service Assistance Center is the place to get it done.

“The one stop location is really important in that individuals don't have to go to five six seven agencies to get their needs met,” she says.

Long says they have seen more than 350 families come through the doors seeking assistance.

“When people have experienced a trauma like this in a significant stress it's hard to keep track of lists and things that you may need to do or things to think about. And by having a companion walk individuals and families through the center they're able to identify needs that they hadn't even thought about as well as get the needs met that they identified when they came in.”

Through the Family Assistance Center, residents can obtain free birth certificates, baby cribs, even Hepatitis A vaccines. ADAMHS says trauma and mental health needs are also being addressed and additional services will be added as needed.

Long says the center is really part of a community-wide response to the disaster.

"We have volunteers from our community social service agencies. We have volunteers from the Ohio crisis response team who's helping us with the companion services, community colleges are sending in volunteers, individuals are walking in and volunteering on any given day. We have 60 to 90 volunteers coming just to operate the center and make sure that it's a calm relaxing experience for the families that are coming in."

ADAMHS says the Family Assistance Center will remain in operation at least through Saturday June 22nd, possibly longer if needed.

Partner organizations for the Family Assistance Center include:

Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, & Mental Health Services
Public Health Dayton Montgomery County providing cribs, Immunizations, Birth Certificates
Montgomery County Job & Family Services (Monday & Thursday only)
Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Red Cross
St. Vincent DePaul
211 United Way
 
The Family Assistance Center is located at 1500 Shiloh Springs Rd in Dayton (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) with the following hours of operation:
 
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.