Herkimer-Oneida Organizations Active in Disasters (HOOAD) is reaching out to residents to assess the needs of individuals in Herkimer and Oneida impacted by the recent flooding and to make them aware of how they can easily connect to resources and services that are or may become available. HOOAD is a group of volunteer, private, not-for-profit, and government organizations and businesses that supports local relief efforts after a disaster or emergency. This local organization is modeled after the National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) which has for many years worked to assist communities affected by disasters. Many people don’t realize that we have this local partnership of organizations made up of a variety of public, private, not-for-profit, volunteer and business organizations in place to coordinate and assist with immediate and long-term needs that arise after a disaster. HOOAD has a broad membership of organizations that allows us to better identify needs and leverage and link those affected by a disaster to assistance that they may not be aware of.

Residents may report their needs to HOOAD by calling 2-1-1, a toll free, health and human service hot-line powered by United Way of the Valley & Greater Utica Area that can be dialed 24/7 to connect callers to existing local services quickly and easily. Calls are confidential and free. Here are some of the types of calls that 2-1-1 receives after a flood:

  • “Our basement was flooded, and even though it was pumped out, there’s still mud.”
  • “My furnace and hot water heater were flooded out and I didn’t have insurance.”
  • “We were flooded and now there’s mold. What can I do to be sure we are safe?”
  • “Ever since the flood, I’ve been really depressed. Who can I talk to?”
  • “Where I was living was flooded. I’ve been staying with friends and family ever since, but I need to find a permanent solution.”
  • “I’m on SNAP and lost food because our power was out for so long. How can I get food for my family?”

Sometimes, especially after an event like a flood, it may take time to mobilize help. There isn’t always an available service to meet the needs of every caller. In these times, 2-1-1 will take the individual’s name and contact information, so that if services become available, they can be contacted and connected later.

“Calling 2-1-1 and identifying your unmet needs, makes it easier for local disaster responders to identify what types of help are needed,” said Betty-Joan Beaudry, United Way’s Director of Community Impact & 2-1-1 Mid-York. “For example, if 2-1-1 receives many requests for basement clean out assistance after a flood, it becomes clear that this type of help is needed. Knowing what the demand for clean-out assistance is makes it easier to make the case with volunteer groups specially trained in flood clean-up that their help is needed.”

HOOAD and its many partner organizations want to assist, but it all starts with getting connected. If the recent flooding impacted you, please call 2-1-1 to request assistance and learn what services are already available. Some residents of heavily impacted areas may also receive this message in a direct letter from HOOAD.

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