disaster

DSC House in a Box

House in a Box Program Provides Home Essentials for Michigan Flood Survivors

House in a Box Program Provides Home Essentials for Michigan Flood Survivors 2560 1921 SVDP USA

While the media focuses on the winter-weather disasters that recently impacted Texas and other Southern states, neighbors to the north are still recovering from a different disaster that hit one community almost a year ago. A historic 500-year flood that swept through Midland County, Michigan in May 2020 left thousands facing hardship. But thanks to a partnership between the Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group, United Way of Midland County and the Disaster Services Corporation, flood survivors can receive home essentials in an efficient “one-stop shop” way as they work to rebuild their lives.

House in a Box

Organized and led by the Disaster Services Corporation – Society of St. Vincent de Paul USA, the House in a Box Program™ (HIB) provides necessary home items for disaster survivors, all in one kit. One package includes the following brand-new items:

  • Beds
  • Linens
  • Dishes
  • Pots and pans
  • Dressers
  • Silverware
  • Bathroom setup
  • Dinette
  • Couch

“The goal of the program is to provide new household items for families who have lost everything due to a disaster — like the flood that Midland County experienced — and who are forced into situational poverty because of such events,” said Kevin Peach, COO, Disaster Services Corporation.  “House in a Box gives dignity to families in crisis as it gives them a new and fresh start.”

Midland County’s Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group — a cross-sector group of individuals from a variety of organizations and agencies working together to help the community recover from the flood — helped spearhead the efforts to bring HIB to Midland County.

“After the Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group reviewed the program and met with SVDP-USA Disaster Services representatives, we found a perfect match between what this well-established program offers and the needs of individuals and families who suffered catastrophic loss in the Midland County flooding,” said Rev. Matthew W. Schramm, Long Term Disaster Recovery Group member and senior pastor/head of staff at Memorial Presbyterian Church in Midland. “Being able to receive these building blocks of a home in one place is convenient. For those who have experienced such upheaval, convenience is a blessing.”

As part of the Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group, United Way of Midland County helped provide financial support, as well as logistical and volunteer coordination for distribution of the household items. On February 23, volunteers from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the United Way gathered at the warehouse to assemble and organize the HIB materials for distribution.

Says Peach, “It really is a holistic approach to try to get everything (disaster victims) could possibly need.”

Disaster Services Corporation

The Disaster Services Corporation (DSC) is a Catholic lay organization that helps people in situational poverty brought about by natural and manmade disasters get their lives back in order. It is a sister company to the National Council of the United States, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which has provided disaster relief since its founding in France in 1833.

How Does the HIB Selection Process Work?

“Families are reviewed and referred to the program through a Disaster Case Management process that ensures that there is no duplication of benefits,” according to Peach. “DSC buys furniture and furnishings in volume through pre-screened vendors so that it can provide a starter household furniture kit at a greatly reduced price.”

All families receive the same new items which are packaged for efficiency of delivery. The program is scalable to the size of the family and starts at $3,200 for a family of four. United Way is utilizing funds from their Rise Together fund to purchase the kits at a discounted rate, saving over $58,000, versus paying for these new household items individually.

Midland Flooding

You may not have heard of the flooding in Midland, but its impact on local residents was devastating. Over 10,000 people fled their homes because of the Midland County flood, which resulted in over $200 million in damages to more than 2,500 buildings.

“Rebuilding after a disaster is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Bre Sklar. “It does not happen overnight. But through the generosity of organizations and programs like House in a Box™, our community members can get access to much-needed resources to pick up the pieces of their lives.”

For more information on the Disaster Services Corporation – Society of St. Vincent de Paul USA, including how to donate to help disaster survivors, visit their website.

Disaster Services Corporation

Winter Storm Update From Disaster Services Corporation

Winter Storm Update From Disaster Services Corporation 2000 1600 SVDP USA

The Disaster Services Corporation, St Vincent de Paul USA (DSC, SVdP-USA) is providing support to Councils and Conferences in the areas impacted by Winter Storms Uri and Viola. DSC is working closely with the State of Texas and Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). Additionally, we are working in coordination with the National SVdP Office to provide Rapid Response Grants to cover the costs of rent, food, pipe repairs, hotel stays, etc. Lastly, DSC, SVdP-USA is also monitoring and supporting Vincentians in Oklahoma and Louisiana. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families without water and power.

To help support the work of DSC in this winter storm season, visit Disaster Services Corp., St Vincent de Paul-USA  and choose “Where It Is Needed Most.”

Here’s What You Need to Know

  • As power begins to return, many Texans are now without drinking water.
  • Most power is back, but 500,000 Texas homes and businesses are still in the dark.
  • The latest storm is knocking out power in Mississippi, Kentucky, and elsewhere.
  • Several inches of snow are expected in the New York area, as vaccine shipments are delayed.
  • 31 people have died across the country due to the winter storms.

Recap From the News

The winter storms and colder weather may persist in the Great Plains and Mississippi Valley through midweek, and a new winter storm is expected to sweep across the South and East over the next two days. More than 100 million Americans are under some type of winter weather warning.

As Texas struggles to restore power to millions of residents affected by the brutal winter weather, officials are now scrambling to provide clean water as well. Cities and counties across the state, including Houston, San Antonio, and Austin, have issued boil water notices stemming from concerns about contamination and low water pressure as frigid temperatures freeze pipes, leaving some households with little to no running water.

As of Wednesday, nearly seven million Texans were under a boil water advisory, and about 263,000 people were affected by nonfunctioning water providers, Toby Baker, executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said at a news conference. During a news conference on Wednesday, W. Nim Kidd, chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, said facilities were reporting broken water mains, lack of running water, oxygen shortages and other problems.

Texas wasn’t the only state contending with power issues. Other states where outages numbered in the tens of thousands included Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, Ohio and Oregon, according to poweroutage.us, a utility tracking site.

While some facilities can provide heat during the blackouts, others are relying completely on generators and cannot provide any heat. With another storm on its way to Texas, temperatures are expected to remain below freezing until Saturday.

Winter’s brutal assault continued Wednesday night as another snowstorm roared its way across the nation through the end of the week, hitting areas where millions were already without electricity in record-breaking cold.

More than 100 million Americans are in the path of the storm as it tracks from the southern Plains to the East Coast over the next few days, the National Weather Service said. But the nation’s heartland will get some relief over the weekend, the weather service reported, as the frigid air will begin to moderate over the next couple days.

But first, much of Texas and the Southeast will have to endure heavy snowfall and “ice accumulations of a light glaze to a few hundredths of an inch” through Thursday. Heavy snow is forecast to move work its way as far north as southern New England on Thursday.

The next winter storm will bring more snow and ice and “just a real mess” to many areas of the country, including the South, Midwest and Northeast, AccuWeather meteorologist Bernie Rayno said. As the storm advances to the northeast through Friday, snow is forecast to fall along a 2,000-mile-long swath from northwestern and north-central Texas to northern Maine, AccuWeather said. Freezing rain and sleet will occur to the south and east of the snow zone, extending from central Texas to southeastern New York state.

Ice accumulations of a quarter to as much as three-quarters of an inch are forecast in some areas. “In the areas that contend with these devastating ice accumulations, residents can expect dangerous travel conditions, numerous power outages and extensive tree damage,” the weather service said.

FEMA Update Region VI – TX

  • 15 non-American Red Cross shelters open with 1,068 occupants
  • 34 congregate shelters open with 1,140 occupants
  • 10 non-congregate; 134 warming shelters open
  • Total of 200 warming shelters throughout the state: www.tedem.texas.gov/warm/
  • Boil Water Notices in effect for 40 counties; boil water notices are not for the entire county, only certain public water systems within these counties
  • 729k liters of water, 10.9k wool blankets, 50k cotton blankets, 225k meals staged at DC Fort Worth (TX Consolidated Staging Area)
  • 1 million (-2 million) customers (9%) without power
  • Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) energy conservation plan continues with rotating outages due to high demand exceeding available generation capacity generation resources are strained due to cold weather tripping units, natural gas supply curtailments, and wind power generation outage
  • I-35W in Fort Worth remains closed causing detours and traffic delays
  • TX EOC at Partial Activation (COVID), working 24/7 operations this week for winter weather; Governor declared a state of emergency and requested an Emergency Declaration; approved Feb 14

Who to Follow

What to Download

Stay informed: Download the FEMA App to receive real-time weather alerts, safety tips, and sheltering information.

How to Help

Donate to support Disaster Services Corp., St Vincent de Paul-USA  and choose “Where It Is Needed Most.”

 

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