By Meg Waters
For individuals and families who are still displaced, for those who are struggling to pay bills, have pressing housing needs, or are grappling with other basic “human services” issues in the wake of the September flooding, a lot of resources are available. But
information about those resources has been dispersed and sometimes difficult to find.
Consolidation of resources that fall under the “human services” heading, from grant applications to information about food assistance, from housing to legal to mental health services, is a key mission of the Long-Term Flood Recovery Group of Boulder County (LTFRG), known affectionately in some circles as “Lite-Frog.” The organization is a joint effort of an assortment of government agencies and nonprofit groups, including Boulder County and the United Way. And despite the name, it is prepared to assist with meeting both short-term and long-term needs of Lyons-area residents.
As a first step in providing assistance, LTFRG is working to identify residents’ needs through a network of case managers. Some case managers are employees of Boulder County, some work for nonprofit agencies and some are volunteers. All have undergone rigorous training so that they can help guide individuals and families to the available resources that are appropriate to their situation. From February 10 to 22, an organization called World Renew was working out of the Walt Self Center to start the assessment process. Those who met with World Renew should be assigned a LTFRG case manager in the coming weeks.
Maria Baladez from the Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services will be at the Walt Self Center on Thursdays from 11am to 2pm, to help residents of all ages complete applications for food assistance via the Boulder County SNAP program, cash assistance via the federal TANF program, and health care via Medicaid or Connect for Health Colorado. (As an aside, although the Walt Self Center includes senior housing facilities, the building is county-owned and its meeting space is meant for use by residents of all ages, not just seniors. Who knew?)
In the meantime, on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Maria Baladez from the Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services will be at the Walt Self Center to help residents of all ages complete applications for food assistance via the Boulder County SNAP program, cash assistance via the federal TANF program, and health care via Medicaid or Connect for Health Colorado. (As an aside, although the Walt Self Center includes senior housing facilities, the building is county-owned and its meeting space is meant for use by residents of all ages, not just seniors. Who knew?)
Outside of LTFRG, several sources of financial aid continue to be available. Neither Oskar Blues’ CAN’d Aid Foundation nor the Lyons Community Foundation (LCF) is directly awarding grants to individuals anymore. CAN’d Aid is now “working with the Town of Lyons and other flood-assistance organizations to determine greatest needs for larger-scale projects,” says the organization’s Diana Ralston. And the LCF has shifted its focus to supporting nonprofits and government agencies in the Lyons area.
The Red Cross also continues to provide assistance to help with unmet flood-related needs. “We’re helping to meet essential basic needs through a combination of resources and referrals,” says Sabrina Amon, disaster recovery manager with the Red Cross.
Among other services, the Red Cross is helping hard-hit residents with payment of rent and/or security deposits; furniture replacement; provision of gas cards and eyeglasses; and access to storage units. Call 1(888) 635-6381 to learn more and determine whether you qualify.
Of interest to our artist community: The Haven Foundation is currently accepting applications for grants. The Haven Foundation is a charitable foundation based in Maine that assists freelance artists who are facing financial difficulties for medical or other reasons. Margaret Morehouse, the organization’s administrator, says natural disasters count as a legitimate “other reason.” To qualify, an individual must be able to prove that he or she has relied on an art form such as painting, sculpture, or music as a primary source of income (at least one-third of his/her total income) for each of the past three years. Applications for the current round of grants must be mailed to a post office box, and they’re due March 22. Go to www.thehavenfdn.org for more information.
Finally, for property owners who sustained flood damage along local waterways, Boulder County has secured some funding from FEMA for removal of debris from streams. The county has already identified which properties most need mitigation, so property owners don’t have to take any action to take advantage of this opportunity.