Harvey recovery group to apply for major grant

Laura Garcia By Laura Garcia

Jan. 26, 2018 at 10:12 p.m.
Updated Jan. 28, 2018 at 6 a.m.

William Hill and Dolly Stokes engage in conversation prior to the Long Term Recovery Group meeting Jan. 5.

William Hill and Dolly Stokes engage in conversation prior to the Long Term Recovery Group meeting Jan. 5.   Madelynne Scales for The Victoria Advocate

Five months after Hurricane Harvey, community leaders continue to focus on helping residents in need.

Many volunteers have been working almost every day to help people navigate their recovery.

"I appreciate you guys for what you're doing, so take a breath," said Glen Dry, vice-chairman of the Victoria County Long Term Recovery Group, at a meeting Friday.

He strongly encouraged those in the room to talk to counselors to protect their own mental health.

Dry, who co-chairs the crisis counseling and spiritual care committee, said those who take care of themselves will be able to better take care of survivors.

His message went out to a room filled with city and county officials, pastors, agency liaisons, disaster case managers, nonprofit workers and volunteers.

Long-term recovery group members voted to change from meeting weekly to meeting twice a month.

The next two meetings are scheduled for Feb. 9 and 23.

Mark Longoria, the group's chairman, said he was contacted by an organization that could provide funding for employees who would help coordinate their efforts.

The group has applied for a grant with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

"We feel really positive about this," Longoria said.

If the grant is awarded, the long-term recovery group could also get funding for direct services that would benefit families identified by its case management process as having unmet needs.

Members also discussed the transition from an immediate services plan by Gulf Bend Center to a regular services plan held by Region III Education Service Center.

Since Harvey, Gulf Bend contracted with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to assist with immediate mental health needs.

Now, the commission and the Texas Education Agency will be in a regional contract for the next nine months, starting Feb. 1, with Region III Education Service Center to provide outreach and support for its 11-county region.

The Region III center will help connect families with traditional counseling or other appropriate services in the community.

Gulf Bend will continue to be a mental health resource to the community as it always has been, said Lane Johnson, chief clinical officer.

The group also discussed Samaritan's Purse returning to Victoria to help mobile home owners.

Families whose homes were destroyed by Harvey may be eligible for replacement mobile homes.

Dolly Stokes, secretary/treasurer of the long-term recovery group, said officials with the group plan to host a public meeting about the program in mid-February.


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