MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – After the April 27th tornadoes a group of churches & nonprofits banded together to form the Madison County Long Term Recovery Committee. Volunteers saw the need was overwhelming, but state funds for Disaster Case Management did not arrive until 18 months after the tornadoes struck.
Case management was handled entirely by volunteers. Those volunteers eventually had to return to work, leaving survivor families to be handed over to new volunteers each time, often restarting the entire paperwork process.
The LTRC realized there were no local funds to pay for the vital staff position, so now they are seeking to provide case managers who can see the process through to the end.
“What they’d like to have is a local fund, or a local source of funding, to pay a disaster case managers salaries,” said Paige Colburn, a government liaison for the committee.
One major problem the group has encountered is that when they are fundraising people are reluctant to give when the is going toward administrative costs.
“People don’t want to pay for that, they want to pay for debris removal or helping the family have food and shelter for a night. These are the things that tug at their heart-strings,” said Colburn.
The LTRC has set a goal to raise $100,000 to hire two full-time case managers in the event of an April 27th magnitude disaster.
On Wednesday, Colburn went before the Madison County Commission to petition for $25,000. Commissioner Roger Jones already gave $5,000 to the cause.
Colburn plans to take her case to Madison and Huntsville cities as well.
“This isn’t money they’re asking for every year, this isn’t a staff they’re going to hire tomorrow or any time soon,” explained Colburn. “They’re only going to hire this person if a disaster happens.”
On average, victims of large-scale disasters like the April 27th tornadoes, can be in the recovery process for 18 months to two years.