Providing disaster case management to address unmet needs

Heartland United Way story

“You have helped us restore our home, brought us back together as a family under one roof, and relieved us from the overwhelming financial burden of a natural disaster… A simple thank you cannot even begin to convey my heartfelt gratitude.” – Heartland United Way client testimony

In March 2019, catastrophic river flooding and a bomb cyclone inundated Nebraska. Hundreds of homes were destroyed, farmland ruined and whole herds of cattle lost, with estimated losses at hundreds of millions of dollars.

In the wake of the disaster, the Heartland United Way (HUW) in Grand Island, Nebraska, organized quickly and began doing what needed to be done, working hundreds of hours to meet needs during the response and clean-up stage.

CDP’s Midwest Early Recovery Fund (ERF) awarded HUW a grant to support a long-term recovery group and provide disaster case management services for households impacted by flooding in several counties in rural central Nebraska. HUW hired Community Disaster Advocates (aka case managers) to assist disaster survivors in their recovery efforts.

The case managers worked with individuals and families in local, rural communities to assess their disaster-caused unmet needs. They developed individualized recovery plans and linked disaster survivors to resources and programs promoting rapid and equitable recovery.

The disaster case managers contacted 358 households that sought assistance by registering with FEMA and another 26 individuals who did not receive FEMA assistance. The case managers successfully connected with and provided direct support and disaster case management to 51% of those cases—the remaining 49% self-determined whether their disaster-related needs were met or were unresponsive.

This client testimony highlights the impact of HUW’s work:

“The Heartland Disaster Recovery Group, specifically our community advocate, has been by our side ever since. She helped us through the appeals process with FEMA, called contractors on our behalf, fought to get us back together as a family in our home, and connected us with resources to make that a possibility… This group has been our advocate in every sense of the word throughout the recovery process.”

CDP is proud to support HUW’s efforts to help people in Nebraska navigate the road to recovery.

Photo courtesy of Heartland United Way