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Local agencies prepare to help flood victims

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By Deb Hurley Brobst

Area service agencies are expecting requests for help starting this week from residents affected by the recent flooding.

The executive directors have learned from past experience with wildfires that it takes people a couple of weeks to figure out what they need and to seek help.

“We are trying to gear up to see if there’s a need to help with houses, especially with low-income homeowners,” said Kathleen O’Leary, executive director with Blue Spruce Habitat for Humanity. “So far, we have not seen that need yet. People are just starting to get their arms around the damage.”

While people come to Evergreen Christian Outreach and the Mountain Resource Center in Conifer for their personal needs, Habitat is the place to go for issues with damaged homes.

O’Leary sent a message to other Habitat offices around the country asking for advice, and she heard back from the New Orleans director, who had experience with flooding after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“He said we should be grateful that we didn’t have to deal with alligators in people’s homes,” she said. “He also gave me some very good advice that we’re putting into place.”

O’Leary said she was grateful there was no damage to the Habitat homes that have been built in the area.

At EChO, workers are taking information from people who have services and items they wish to donate. Then as requests for help come in, the donors can be matched with the requests.

Sharon Smith, EChO’s executive director, said she’s been in contact with Jefferson County officials and the Salvation Army, in addition to Habitat and the MRC, so efforts to help residents in need can be coordinated.

“I’m thinking next week we’ll start hearing from people who have found that their furniture is ruined or the food in their freezer has gone bad,” Smith said. “Maybe they are renters who didn’t have flood insurance and need to replace items.”

It could be something as simple as needing help removing carpet from a basement, she said. EChO has volunteers who will help.

“We want to get word out: Call or stop by and let us know what you need,” Smith said.

Contact Deb Hurley Brobst at deb@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1041. Check www.CanyonCourier.com for updates.

Where to find help …

Evergreen Christian Outreach is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Its offices are on the east end of downtown on the Church of the Transfiguration property. Call EChO at 303-670-1796.

To reach Blue Spruce Habitat for Humanity, contact Susan Brubaker at 303-674-1127.

The Mountain Resource Center is at 11030 Kitty Drive in Conifer. Call 303-838-7552 for more information.