Community's long-term recovery may prompt formation of coalition.
The community-based group Flagler Volunteer Services held its first meeting March 15 to assess the ongoing and long-term needs of local residents hit hardest by Hurricane Matthew last fall.
According to its director Suzy Gamblain, the organization -- along with other local agencies -- is attempting to get a better on-the-ground view of the issues people in Flagler County affected by the hurricane are still dealing with and what more needs to be done.
"Between FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and their insurance, they still have needs, whether it's a roof needing to be fixed or trees needing to be taken down," said Gamblain. "There's also, more long-lasting emotional issues they're dealing with."
Flagler Volunteer Services is working with the county's emergency operations center, as well as other municipal agencies, businesses, nonprofits and faith-based organizations, to determine the best allocation of resources going forward, in addition to how to coordinate the deployment of those resources. At its next meeting, April 12, a representative from the state chapter of VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) will be on hand to talk about next steps, including whether an official coalition should be established in Flagler.
Said Gamblain, whose family is still in the process of trying to get back into a permanent home in the Flagler Beach Trailer Park following the hurricane six months ago, "It's about the ways we can get people back to some sense of normalcy. ... Sometimes, that can take years."
The next meeting of the group is tentatively scheduled for April 12 at 10 a.m. at the county's Emergency Services facility at 1769 E. Moody Blvd., Building 3, Bunnell. For more information, contact Suzy Gamblain at 597-2950.