Jacksonville, Florida – September 7, 2018 – As the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Irma’s impact on Northeast Florida approaches, community organizations throughout Duval and Nassau counties are continuing to help thousands of individuals and families who are struggling to recover from the storm.
While for most people in the community the hurricane is a distant memory, efforts by various organizations to identify the ongoing need for recovery suggest there are at least a thousand families in need of help rebuilding their homes and lives. Working together through a collaborative called the Northeast Florida Long Term Recovery Organization (NFLTRO), nonprofit and faith-based organizations and volunteers are sharing information, aligning efforts and working together to get resources and assistance to those in need. The collaborative includes nearly three dozen different agencies.
“The efforts of these organizations and individuals over the last year has been nothing short of heroic,” said Michael Boylan, Chair of the NFLTRO. “Yet they need increased community support to reach all of the families who will require help getting back on their feet.”
Identifying the families and the specifics of their needs was a first focus for the NFLTRO as the emphasis of the community shifted from hurricane relief to long-term recovery. Volunteers from World Renew Disaster Response Services were brought to the area earlier this year, going door to door in harder hit neighborhoods to help begin to assess remaining needs for long-term recovery. The assessment of damage totaled nearly $4 million and is suspected to only be a fraction of the total cost of the storm. Some cases are concentrated in areas where flooding was severe; others are scattered throughout the county. Families in need of long-term recovery are predominantly elderly, disabled, and low-income families with children.
The impact of Hurricane Irma was more severe than any storm in recent memory. For example, there were just over 3,500 claims to FEMA in Duval County made during Hurricane Matthew in 2016; for Hurricane Irma, FEMA registered more than 112,000 claims.
For families trying to recover, the collaborative work of the NFLTRO partners can make all the difference. “I could go on about our communications and their encouraging words and how much it meant to me,” said one homeowner in a recent email of thanks. “I wanted someone to know how wonderfully tireless and dedicated they are to what they do.”
How to help
To donate or volunteer: Find a list of partner agencies at DuvalDisasterRecovery.org.
To become a partner agency or to list your organization’s resources in the Disaster Response & Recovery database, go to DuvalDisasterRecovery.org or call 904-748-9723.