With people still struggling with damage to their houses and personal belongings, Coastal Community Action Project has been deemed the command center for anything and everything flood related in Grays Harbor County.
CCAP is attempting to temporarily house displaced residents while also fielding calls from anyone in need of assistance and directing them to different agencies around the area that are best able to cater to their specific needs.
“The main thing is information and referral,” said CCAP CEO Craig Dublanko. “People are calling in and they’re talking to our staff. We don’t have an answer for everybody, but our staff is doing the best they can with the resources that exist.”
On Tuesday, an ad-hoc committee made up of different agencies around the county that is focusing on flood relief received funding from the Grays Harbor Community Foundation that will be used to help those in need.
On top of that money, United Way Director Nora LeBlanc said a portion of the funds donated to the relief fund set up by the organization has already been distributed to CCAP to help with housing costs and other needs. Donations can still be made to the United Way fund at any Anchor Bank location or Great Northwest Federal Credit Union.
“I encourage people to get involved and find ways to help. We want to make sure people’s immediate needs are met right now,” LeBlanc said.
CCAP will use donations to help people find a place to stay temporarily, provide new furniture for those who need it, or help residents clean out their houses. Members of Team Rubicon, a non-governmental organization that helps with disaster response, are housed at CCAP and are assessing homes and compiling a database that gauges what repairs are needed at specific residences.
Services are still needed for many in Aberdeen and Hoquiam.
Michelle Kerr, who lives with her daughter and two adult women in a rental unit near Robert Gray Elementary School, had six feet of water in the lower level of her house after the early January storm. The entire ground floor was lost, wiping out a kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, living and dining room.
“Everything downstairs was a total loss,” she said.
For now, Kerr, her daughter, their dog and cat are living with a friend across the street, but housing the animals is a hardship for the neighbor. Kerr may have to get rid of the dog and cat. “That’s like telling me to get rid of one of my kids,” she said.
Kerr has been in contact with CCAP and is waiting to hear back on temporary housing as she continues looking for a permanent home.
Chris Gregg and his family are in a similar position. Gregg was having carpet taken out last week before his hardwood floors were to be stripped. Gregg and his family have flood and homeowner’s insurance, but neither cover relocation.
Right now, Gregg’s wife and daughter are staying with their eldest child in a two-bedroom apartment.
“It’s frustrating,” said Gregg, who has lived in the house for 40 years.
Gregg’s younger daughter’s car was flooded during the storm and she got into an accident while trying to navigate through the water. She has contacted her insurance company but has yet to find out if the damage is covered.
On Queets Avenue in Hoquiam, Jimmy and Elyce Chase are moving items out of their house after a mudslide pushed up against it and buried their carport and two vehicles. At the moment, the couple is getting around thanks to rides from friends.
However, the Chase family has landslide insurance, which is unusual. Their plan will cover the structure and content of the house and the insurance company is paying for four months’ rent at a townhouse. “We’re thankful. We’re going to be okay,” said Jimmy Chase.
Anyone who needs flood assistance or information about emergency relief should contact CCAP at 360-533-5100, ext. 151, or firstname.lastname@example.org.