Written by Cherish L. Cronmiller, Esq., President & CEO of Miami Valley CAP

Things have been extremely busy at the Miami Valley CAP since the Memorial Day Tornadoes, but its staff has risen to the challenge with professionalism and compassion.

Phase One – Satisfy Immediate Needs

In the aftermath of the Dayton-area tornados, Miami Valley CAP (MVCAP) quickly jumped into the relief effort. The first needs were immediate access to water, electricity, sheltering. Thankfully, grassroots volunteers and the American Red Cross led that charge beautifully.

Phase 2 – Re-housing, Insurance, Storage, Furnishings & Repair

The next phase was re-housing, insurance, storage, vehicle repair, transportation, furniture and furnishings. MVCAP, along with partners at St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP), Catholic Social Services (CSS), and churches, have answered this call. To date, the agency has received approximately $160,000.00 in Disaster Relief Funds (the bulk, $125,000 coming from The Dayton Foundation, $20,000 from Be Hope Church in Greene County, $6,000 from Metaphorically Speaking Dayton, $5,000 from Omega Baptist, $2,000 from Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies, and $2,000 as private gift).

Miami Valley CAP has spent out over half of these funds – about $75,0000 – and provided monetary assistance to 68 households. Some people may have only received a $19 bus pass. Others, needed more – such as a household of two sisters and four children who received $4,000 in aid. They needed half of their security deposit, first month’s rent, furniture, furnishings, and appliances. Some units were “available and affordable” but had no appliances, so MVCAP put in appliances to make the unit available; the customer retains rights to the appliances.

424 Community Faces

Miami Valley CAP has met face-to-face with over 424  households and submitted over 294 Needs Assessments. Of those assessments, over 100 people have been seen face-to-face; over 160 call-backs have been made; and some were repeat submissions.  The agency quickly set up an “Available Unit” map. Volunteers were kind enough to makes calls, gather information, and enter data into the map. Landlord submissions of available units can be completed here: https://forms.gle/vJjoGyfJVpQpWqKp8

Right now, people still need help locating housing. Through FEMA, people can qualify for up to 18 months of rent assistance (so long as they continue to submit receipts and put in the request every two months.) MVCAP has also formed a wonderful partnership with St. Vincent de Paul and Declare.org/Living City Project. MVCAP is issuing SVdP Vouchers so that rehoused families can get second-hand furniture to fill the home.   Declare/LCP is providing new queen and twin beds and frames, and we also have other new furnishings. Volunteers from Declare/LCP contact the household to arrange delivery of the items that were picked out at SVdP, and the new beds and furnishings.  And there are also volunteers that will help move households (typically items held in storage to the new location).

Phase Three: Long-Term Recovery and Rebuilding

The next phase of recovery is repairs, rebuilding and long-term needs. People need vehicle replacement options for employed households, as many of the households seen owned a vehicle outright and had no insurance – many of these vehicles were totaled, or the repairs exceed the value of the vehicle.

Repair help will likely be contractor-based assistance, the repairs that require permits and licensed installer (electrical, plumbing, HVAC). For example, MVCAP helped pay for an elderly man to get electric reconnected from the pole to the house, an electric company paid for half and the agency is paying the other half the charge. Partnering with Rebuilding Together and Habitat for Humanity provides help with volunteer coordination of repairs.  In the months ahead, MVCAP will be looking at a development partner in affordable housing and community redevelopment.

Area’s Needs are Being Met

MVCAP thankfully does not have any immediate needs, as they are about to train volunteers to help in following up with customers that haven’t been reached. CSS is hiring a long-term case manager with MVCAP participating in the long-term case management planning, as some of these households will need more guidance than just service delivery. A request to the State for more money in HEAP, HWAP and CSBG (about two million over the next two years) was delivered. The ask is for money to:

  • help supply case managers to this long-term effort
  • home repairs, weatherizing damaged properties, air conditioners for disaster victims,
  • emergency service dollars (this disaster has had “ripple” effects in the low-income community).

OPAE applauds Miami Valley CAP’s efforts, compassion and sense-of-urgency. We continue to keep our thoughts with the people of the Dayton area.

Challenged by the recent Dayton-area tornadoes? Here are resources for aid:

Webpage: https://miamivalleycap.org/tornado-recovery-assistance/

Email address: help@mvcap.com

Appointment Line & Online Scheduling: (p) 937-250-7911 or click here to schedule your appointment.