Dawson County, located between Kearney and North Platte, Nebraska experienced devastating flooding of the Platte River in July 2019 resulting to damage to hundreds of homes. While, 167 homeowners and renters were approved for FEMA, some with reported damages up to $100,000, more than 525 homeowners across the county have applied to receive assistance to cover their costly repairs.
Fortunately, organizations like the Dawson County Recovery Group are working to assist these homeowners with the costs associated with repairing their flood-damaged homes. DCRG is prioritizing repairs to homes where children, elderly and low-income individuals were displaced or homes remain damaged. Because many of the impacted homeowners speak English as their second language, language barriers were a concern.
“The Dawson County Recovery Group was able to hire three part time Advocates with knowledge of the local community resources, who are bilingual, as well as familiar with working with foundation, State and Federal funds, said Tammy Jeffs, Community Service Director, Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska and member of Dawson Recovery Group. “Since they are active members in their community they are trusted with information of the needs of the family and able to direct them to appropriate resources to utilize both mainstream assistance as well as disaster funds.”
The repairs provided DCRG focus on making the homes habitable and safe through activities such as repair and/or replacement to HVAC units and water heaters, improving water wells to drinkable standards, and remediating mold. The Rebuild the Heartland Community Fund recently awarded a $50,000 grant to the organization to pay vendors, or reimburse homeowners for expenses for these and other flood damage related expenses.
“We are finding homes that have not been repaired due to lack of funds,” said Jeffs. “The Rebuild funds help move the family toward recovery. It is a step toward hope and moving forward.”