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Tornado Response Update from Catholic Charities

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The Diocese of Raleigh through Catholic Charities and other parish activities has continued actively responding to the April 16th tornadoes since the day after the storms wrought havoc in the lives of so many families. Catholic Charities is working currently in more depth with fewer families, assessing with each family their needs and the resources that they have and can count on, for example, FEMA governmental help, insurance, personal skills and family resources for housing.

One of Catholic Charities’ special niches is the resource of Spanish-speaking staff and volunteers to serve Hispanic families directly or to act as interpreters.

Some examples of what families have needed are gift cards to purchase clothing for parents and children, clothes specifically suited for the jobs which they hold; payments of deposits on utilities in order to be able to move into new housing (FEMA may have already assisted with the rent and security deposit); other clients in similar circumstances required water and electric deposits.

Some of Catholic Charities clients are not eligible for FEMA grants; in those instances, for example, Catholic Charities has paid security deposits for several renters who are employed but had no expectation or funds for making a move when their dwelling was destroyed. Because of these and insurance eligibilities and ineligibilities, some will do their own rebuilding.

The Diocesan donated monies will support these repairs by purchasing the materials, the cost of which can amount to several thousand dollars for a dwelling. There are good and qualified construction teams formed to do the work and so, in this way, a partnership is formed on behalf of the specific family.

Counties are now forming Long Term Recovery Committees (LTRC), of which Catholic Charities is a member in Bertie/Gates, Cumberland/Lee, Greene and Wake Counties. These LTRCs will catalog the lists of families’ unmet needs based on qualified assessments and case management and will work together to address them until all of the needs are met. Much will happen in six months to a year; some will take up to several years to be resolved and accomplished.

Some examples of individuals recently assisted by Catholic Charities (their names have been changed): 

  • Kristi was four months pregnant when she came to Catholic Parish Outreach (CPO); CPO was able to supply her with food after her home was completely destroyed because of the tornado. Kristi had been waiting for food stamps and had been turned down by FEMA. After living with her sister in a crowded apartment, Kristi found her own place to live. Unfortunately, she did not have enough money to pay the light deposit. Catholic Charities’ Disaster Response was able to turn the lights on in a new home for Kristi and her baby.
  • A week after the tornado, Marisol and her husband, Ivan, came to Catholic Charities. Their walls were damaged and their windows were broken because of the storm. Their glasses had also been lost during the chaos. Catholic Charities was able to pay for their glasses and continues to do case management with them as they sort out their options to repair and restore their dwelling. 


FEMA Extends Disaster Registration Deadline to July

People in 19 North Carolina counties who suffered damage and loss as a result of the April 16 storms and tornadoes have 15 more days to register for federal disaster assistance. The new deadline is Tuesday, July 5.

North Carolina Emergency Management asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for an extension, based on continued registrations that indicate some are still assessing their damage and need additional time to apply for aid. FEMA approved the extension, which also extends the deadline to return applications for disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).