WYSO

Tornado Recovery Group Says Progress Being Made

Feb 14, 2020

A coalition of organizations formed after the Memorial Day tornado outbreak gathered on Thursday to provide updates on disaster recovery progress.

The Miami Valley Long Term Recovery Operations Group says 724 individuals, families and businesses are receiving case management services. Most of those cases are in Montgomery County, according to Laura Mercer, the group’s executive director.   

“About half of those are homeowners. And about 68 percent of those homeowners have indicated that they're going to need some assistance with repair and rebuilding,” Mercer said.

Although more than 300 homeowners have received assistance through the designated 211 helpline, officials believe there are still residents who haven’t gotten the message that help is available.

“There were 19 tornadoes and nearly 6,000 homes were damaged. Nearly 1,200 of those homes were destroyed or had major damage. So, we know that the homeowners that have called us, so far, are just a fraction of the people that need help.”

The group identified several other challenges to the recovery process during the meeting; such as, bottlenecks created by a shortage of available estimators to survey damage, and some available funding from government agencies that hasn’t been distributed yet. Many neighborhoods still bear signs of heavy damage.

Still, the recovery group says there are indicators that the Miami Valley is ahead of where communities facing similar disasters are this far out from the storms. And, there’s more progress to be made.

Officials are urging more people to call the 211 assistance line now, as the group prepares for a major spring rebuilding campaign when volunteer teams from around the nation are planning to visit the Miami Valley this spring to help.