Dozens of Montgomery County agencies plan long-term tornado recovery

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TROTWOOD, Ohio (WDTN) – On Wednesday dozens of agencies throughout Montgomery County started laying the groundwork for long-term recovery. They’re exploring how organizations at the local level will address everything FEMA does not cover. 

Montgomery County’s Director of Emergency Management says recovery will take about two years. The goal Wednesday was not necessarily to have all the answers. But the dozens of partner organizations, churches, and aid agencies that gathered in Trotwood are identifying the issues that need answers. 

Michael Vanderburgh, the Executive Director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, says, “We have a number of rare assets here for our recovery.” Rare assets that all gathered in one place Wednesday to coordinate the long-term response. 

This week’s FEMA disaster declaration will eventually provide most of the financing needed for the recovery effort, but then unmet needs will fall to community agencies.

Jeff Jordan is the Director of Emergency Services in Montgomery County. He says, “Unmet needs are not hypothetical. We know there will be unmet needs. Probably every person impacted by this disaster will have some unmet needs.” 

The County’s steering committee identified 5 key areas in need of attention: employment & workforce development, business recovery, volunteer coordination, disaster case management, & housing. 

The employment & workforce development group wants to get people back to work by taking resources to them. Teri Shirk of Goodwill says, “We want to go out. We talked about the libraries being a significant place to do outreach because they have such a wide reach.” 

WATCH: More working groups address long-term recovery needs:

The businesses recovery working group needs to hear more from business owners who were impacted by the storms. Becky Jantonio from Sinclair Community College says, “Hopefully from that list we can bring people together and they can brainstorm and tell us how, when, where, and what businesses need to do.” 

Dozens of organizations are eager to get to work, but they estimate it will take 2 years to get back to normalcy. Montgomery County Commissioner Deborah Lieberman says, “This is going to be the longest. We’ve had experts tell us it could take years until we’re back to where we were.” 

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