Baptist Men - (Brotherhood)
Thousands of our neighbors throughout eastern North Carolina can’t go home. They are living in temporary housing or with family or friends because flood waters and wind from Hurricane Florence rendered their homes uninhabitable. This has been their fate since mid-September.
Imagine, if you can, the trauma, emotions, and pain suffered by those forced to flee with only the clothes on their back and a few precious belongings. Driven from their homes, many rescued in boats, they want nothing more than the ability to go back home.
In the hurricane’s aftermath it is estimated 1.2 million households were affected. Thousands of houses throughout eastern North Carolina must be gutted to replace damaged walls, floors, cabinets, and stop the growth of mold. Housing and property damage estimates total $5.6 billion—including the cost of housing storm survivors in temporary quarters.
Getting Hurricane Florence survivors back into their homes as quickly as possible is the goal of a pilot project linking North Carolina Baptists on Mission, State Emergency Management, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
In Lumberton, Baptists on Mission is engaging with FEMA’s Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) pilot program “in performing work and services essential to saving lives, protecting public health and safety and protecting property.”
The essence of this pilot program is to enable eligible displaced residents whose homes were damaged by the hurricane to take shelter in their own homes until the rebuild process is completed.
FEMA stresses that STEP is not a permanent repair program but only “meant to provide the basic life sustaining needs for emergency sheltering.”
The role of Baptists on Mission is to make reasonable and necessary repairs so that a house is safe for sheltering purposes pending local building inspector approval. Currently, Baptists on Mission has several STEP house projects underway. More can be added as thousands of homes meet FEMA qualification for the program.
FEMA guidelines mandate that emergency work include providing utilities for potable water, hot water, HVAC, and food preparation. Other needs include a “functional kitchen, bathroom, sleeping accommodations, and securing and/or weatherproofing to include roof, walls, doors and windows.”
Bill Martin, Baptists on Mission coordinator of disaster recovery, explained the pilot program’s goal is to make a residence “safe, sanitary and secure” so that a Right of Entry (ROE) document can be granted. Once back in their residence, a homeowner can then initiate more complete repairs to the property.
Martin stressed the FEMA program is designed to provide “minimal repairs to make a house safe and livable so the homeowner can get out of temporary housing and back into their own home.”
For example, he said, damaged dry wall will be replaced to cover electrical wiring and plumbing but will not have to be finished with tape and joint compound nor be painted.
If it is deemed safe, flooring can be limited to the sub-floor. Kitchen and bath counters can be as simple as a piece of plywood. Minimal cabinet space could be provided. Doors would not be necessary on unused bedrooms and multi-bathroom equipped homes could have only one functional facility in some instances. These minimal repairs are designed to make a house safe and livable while the homeowner secures complete rebuild.
Richard Brunson, director of NCBM/Baptists on Mission, encourages every church (not just Baptists) and civic groups to help at least one family get back in their home. “We need families back in a functional home as quickly as possible,” he said.
Brunson urges Sunday school classes, mission groups, student groups, civic groups and businesses to get involved by praying, giving and going. Lodging, meals and work management is provided. State and federal agencies provide building materials.
Your help is desperately needed to get a family back into their house! Go to www.baptistsonmission.org to sign up for the location where you can serve a day, a weekend, a week, a month, or longer.
Mark Hinson, NCBM Region 6 Recovery Coordinator
I'm sure you know already how devastating Hurricane Florence has been. It is extreme everywhere. If there has ever been a time for us to be involved, it is NOW!! It's time to do what we have all been taught by The Bible and Holy Spirit.
Many of our teams may have already deployed somewhere, and others not, or they don't know we are working yet. Please let EVERYONE know that we are working and desperately need teams. We will take trained or untrained volunteers. We can't have anyone under the age of 15. Also ages 15-17 has to be with a parent. Sign up on the Baptist Men website, www.baptistonmissin.org. I am at Cape Carteret Site and a site is open in Laurinburg in region 6. We need tear out teams, tarping teams, spray teams, and chainsaw teams. Whatever you can do will help.
I hope to see you soon.
Mark Hinson, NCBM Region 6 Recovery Coordinator
To learn more about the Baptist Men Disaster Relief efforts, click here.
To view the latest version of Baptists on Mission, click here.