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Salvation Army begins long-term relief project post Hurricane Michael

The Salvation Army of Bainbridge recently welcomed Emergency Disaster Services Case Worker, Debra Cannon to their team as they have received their first case for long-term relief from a homeowner in Decatur County following Hurricane Michael’s 2018 destruction.

In order to help with this long-term relief project, Emergency Disaster Services Director Lanita Lloyd has stepped in. She explained that late last year the Salvation Army received the funding to begin providing long-term relief, and since then they have been hard at work making initial contact with homeowners and residents they believe could benefit from the funding.

Lloyd said she realizes because the hurricane was two years ago, many have already done what they needed in order to survive, however she is hoping that through the help of FEMA documentations and local emergency data, they can find residents who may still need help.

While Lloyd and Cannon are reaching out, they said they encourage anyone who may not have applied for FEMA, who still has unmet needs to please contact them.

“We first make initial contact to see what the status is of their recovery,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd said they have met a couple of challenges, while trying to help. She said many are not answering their phone because they don’t recognize the number or are in disbelief that anyone wants to help them.

“When we call, it is up to us to build that trust at the very beginning and validate who we are and look at what would be best for them,” Lloyd said.

Once the trust is built, Lloyd, Cannon and the homeowner work together to see what the status on the home is and what needs priority.

Lloyd said they are funding the project, but the client is involved in the entire process.

“It’s their process, we decide on things together,” Lloyd said. “We use subject matter experts from other organizations, such as engineers to help compare prices and tell us what is reasonable.”

In order to help begin the process together, Lloyd said they have to first validate who the person/homeowner is. The homeowner then has to provide proof that the damage they received was due to the hurricane. Salvation Army in turn then looks at what has been completed and what is the gap. They then prioritize the needs.

“We are looking to help someone survive in their home, be safe, secure and healthy in their home,” Lloyd said.

Cannon said more than 4,000 people applied for FEMA assistance, and while they don’t know if all of those people still have needs they are trying to reach out.

The funding grant given to the Salvation Army to help meet these needs extends to 10 different counties, but Cannon said most of the applicants are from Decatur or Seminole County.

Lloyd explained that they encourage people to reach out because they will be helping do long term recovery until the funding provided by donors runs out.

When reaching out and contacting the Salvation Army for funding, Lloyd asks that homeowners provide that Georgia driver’s license or another proof of ID and documents proving damage during Hurricane Michael, such as FEMA letter or dated pictures.

Lloyd and Cannon are looking forward to helping local citizens.

“This is all a part of our total faith based mission,” Lloyd said. “Providing assistance in His name.”

To contact The Salvation Army and begin the process of getting assistance, contact Cannon at 912-270-8736.