Thursday, October 8, 2015

DISASTER RECOVERY CHECKLIST FOR COLUMBIA, SC FLOOD VICTIMS



CHECKLIST FOR THE BUSINESS SIDE OF DISASTER RECOVERY


Your house, car, or business has been flooded.  Now what?  

This blog post seeks to help those in  the Columbia, SC, area who've suffered flood loss and aren't quite sure what to do next.

I've created a checklist and links to resources to get you STARTED in the right direction regarding the steps needed toward the “business and paperwork” side of recovering from natural disaster.  For additional assistance and guidance in the coming days, seek the advice of a trusted business advisor.

As soon as you can, after you and your family are safe,  begin the process of documenting your loss and applying for insurance and assistance.  The main thing is that the sooner you begin the process of compiling and organizing your documentation of loss, and applying for assistance, the better. This list will help you get started in that process:

ITEMS RECOMMENDED FOR YOUR PERSONAL DISASTER RECOVERY KIT

  • A notebook for keeping track of conversations, contacts, etc.. 
  • A plastic folder safe storage of multiple receipts 
  • Another folder for storing and organizing the papers you receive. 
  • A USB storage device for storing electronic data information such as photographs. 
  • A calendar for keeping up with important dates and meetings 
  • A camera for documenting your loss through photos 
  • An expanding file folder to keep everything in. 

DOCUMENTING YOUR LOSS

  • Place all receipts into your plastic receipts folder. Keep receipts of EVERYTHING, restaurants, plastic garbage bags you buy, hotels, etc. (whatever) 
  • Take photographs of everything, even stuff you throw away, as well as damaged items. Take pictures of trash in front of homes, flood damage inside, valuables lost. (Even if am insurance adjustor takes photos, survivors should do it also.) Store the photos on a USB that you keep in a safe place. Make a backup of your photos, as well. Keep the backup in a separate place or with a friend. 
  • Keep a journal that has notes of everyone you talk with, date and time of the conversation, topic of conversation, what was said, follow up actions, name and ID number of the person you talked to, everything. 
  • Create follow-up dates on your calendar, as a reminder. Write milestones and achievements on your calendar, as well. It will serve later as a reminder of your journey and how far you have come! 

FILING A HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE CLAIM

  • Locate your policy (if possible): Renters, Homeowners, Auto, Flood 
  • Contact your Agent and file a claim (they may deny coverage, but the letter will be needed later) 
  • Your policy may cover water damage, even if it does not cover flood damage. The two are different! Fundamentally, flood damage is from water that results from a flood. Water that comes from other source, such as a roof leak or an exploding hot water heater, may be covered by your homeowner’s policy. Exact coverage will depend upon your policy. 


FILING A FLOOD INSURANCE CLAIM


APPLYING FOR FEMA ASSISTANCE

  • http://www.disasterassistance.gov/
  • Items you will need during the application process: 
  • Social security number, Insurance policies (homeowners, flood, auto etc), Direct deposit info for your bank 

APPLYING FOR SBA ASSISTANCE
  • https://www.sba.gov/content/sba-offers-disaster-assistance-south-carolina-residents-affected-flooding 
  • Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property. Interest rates are as low as 4 percent for businesses and 2.625 percent for nonprofit organizations 1.875 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

GETTING LEGAL HELP

  • The S.C Bar has recruited and trained attorneys to provide free assistance to those who cannot afford legal services. Flood victims facing legal issues who are unable to afford a lawyer may call 1-877-797-2227 ext. 120 (toll-free) or(803) 576-3815 (local) between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, to request assistance. When connected to the hotline, callers should identify that they are seeking disaster-related legal assistance, brief details of the assistance needed and in which county they are located. Individuals who qualify for assistance will be matched with South Carolina lawyers who have volunteered to provide free legal assistance. Flood victims may also request assistance online by e-mailing DisasterInfo@SCBar.org.
  • The type of legal assistance available includes:
    • Assistance with securing FEMA and other government benefits available to disaster victims;
    • Assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims;
    • Help with home repair contracts and contractors;
    • Replacement of wills and other important legal documents destroyed in the disaster;
    • Assistance in consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures;
    • Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems; and
    • Counseling on landlord-tenant problems.

GETTING HOUSING HELP

  • People with need for immediate assistance with housing may contact the Cooperative Ministry, phone 803-451-7398. Their criteria for intake, for people displaced by flooding, have been temporarily relaxed due to difficulty for some of supplying the necessary documentation. Try to have your driver’s license, passport, social security card or other government issued ID, and as much other documentation as possible concerning your need.
  • Some people who are renting lower income housing in low lying areas may need assistance dealing with landlords and getting repairs done to their homes. Contact South Carolina Legal Services at 888-346-5592.

GETTING TAX RELIEF

  • Tax deadlines have been extended for people living in affected counties: 
  • “The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area. For instance, certain deadlines falling on or after Oct. 1, and on or before February 16, 2016 have been postponed to February 16, 2016. This includes the Oct. 15 deadline for those who received an extension to file their 2014 return. In addition, the IRS is waiving the failure-to-deposit penalties for employment and excise tax deposits due on or after Oct. 1, as long as the deposits were made by Oct. 16, 2015.”
  • For more information, see http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Relief-for-Victims-of-Severe-Storms-and-flooding-in-South-Carolina

GETTING SPIRITUAL HELP


GETTING HELP FOR YOUR CHILDREN





Monday, April 6, 2015

Take Up Your Cross, and Follow Me!

Today's musing brings together two different photographs which may shed light on what it means to "Take up your cross and follow me." This first photo is of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., removing a cross from in front of his home, in the presence of his small son.  This photo gives a different slant on the meanng of that directive, as he literally "takes it up" out of the soil in front of his home.  


Saturday, February 28, 2015

AN INVITATION TO WILDERNESS

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness ….” (Luke 4:1)

The forty days of Lent represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry. Lent invites us to enter into and explore the landscape of our own, spiritual wilderness. In this blog post, I would like to invite the reader to explore with me some ideas about what such a journey might look like, feel like, what tools we need before venturing into our own “wilderness,” and benefits of such a journey. (Note: a shortened version of this blog post appears HERE .)



(Christ in the Wilderness, Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Be The Light!

What day is this, December 21, 2014?




It's the Sixth Day of Hanukkah


It's the Fourth Sunday in Advent

...........

No matter what our faith, as we light a candle, 
let us remember that even on the longest of nights, 
the light shines in the Darkness.  

The Darkness cannot comprehend the light, yet neither can the Darkness overcome the Light. 


In whatever way is available to us, 
may each of us make a decision to be the light.  


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

More Bad News About Mountaintop Removal Mining

If it would help save a forest, would you be willing to use fewer light bulbs this evening, in your home? 



If it would help keep a stream clear instead of polluted with sludge and silt, would you be willing to hang out a load of clothes to dry today, instead of using an electric clothes dryer?  


The power to heal, or the power to destroy.
Collectively, this is the power you have.  

The issue at hand is 


If you use electricity in your home, in the USA, you are contributing to this.

I've blogged about Mountaintop Removal Mining (MRM) before, HERE

However, a recent article in the Washington Post brings the issue of MRM back to mind.

There is increasing, hard evidence of the terrible effects MRM has on both humans and on the environment. *   So much so that the EPA decided to clamp down on permitting.  

How did the politicians respond to this effort by the EPA to protect the health of citizens, the economies of small Appalachian towns, and the forests and streams that life depends upon?

Did they applaud efforts by the EPA to protect human health and the environment?

NO!

The GOP-controlled House of Representatives passed legislation 
to try and cut the ability of the EPA to regulate MRM!  

IT'S TIME TO SPEAK THE TRUTH TO POWER.

Ordinary people who seek to protect the health and welfare of individuals and communities are attacked by paid industrialists as "liberals" interested in nothing but "redistribution of wealth."  

STOP LISTENING TO LIES!  LOOK AT THE FACTS!  

Wealth is being redistributed, but not from the rich to the poor!  It's being redistributed from the common people to corporations that feed on the destruction of these mountains.  But MRM is not a resuable, sustainable environmental practice.  Once they've been blown up, flattened, with topsoil washed downstream to clog up fragile water systems, the mountains and their landscape are altered forever. The land, the ecosystem, and the local economy supporting local people --  it's all destroyed and cannot be replaced

Yes, industry with its big bucks is financing lots of campaigns with lovely pictures of families claiming to touting Mom and Apple Pie and "clean energy."  The corporations are spending lots of bucks to slander environmentalists, labeling them as outsiders and "liberals." The strategy is this:  if the facts are against you, pit people against other people and conquer by dividing the people against one another.  Yet, the facts are very different from the paid corporate advertising.  

For starters,  here's the Washington Post Article.  Read it! 



And, here's a slideshow.  

THIS ISSUE IS ABOUT REAL PEOPLE, REAL LIVES.  

HELP APPALACHIAN PEOPLE SAVE THEIR COMMUNITIES AND THEIR WAY OF LIFE. 




Sunday, October 12, 2014

Cheap Meat Comes at a Cost: Cheap Lives

If you eat meat from a standard grocery case, you need to know that what you see in this film is what you are supporting with your dollars. 

Can't bear to watch it?  Well, then, you shouldn't be eating the meat.

 WHY DO YOU THINK BIG CORPORATIONS WANT TO MAKE IT ILLEGAL TO FILM ON THEIR PROPERTY?? 

 (An equally important question is, why would a legislature enact laws making it illegal to film there? Why would they want to assist suppression of the truth?) The only way to stop inhumane practices is to take away the market for them. 

 SUPPORT SMALL FAMILY FARMERS AND SUSTAINABLE LOCAL FARMING!


Thursday, October 9, 2014

If We Cared About the Environment Like We Care About Sports ...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How Should I Live?

"So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams. "

William Cullen Bryant


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

DISAGREEMENTS WITHIN THE CHURCH

In light of all the firestorms affecting the church over this and that issue, with disagreements and damaged relationships between people which result, this verse has been on my mind for the last few days.  

Perhaps it's time for some LECTIO DIVINA related to this passage (Romans Chapter 14, verses 1 - 12):  


14 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[a]? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
    every tongue will acknowledge God.’”[b]
12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Nouwen on Friendship

What is the essence of friendship? 
  
How can I be a better friend?

Consider the following quotes from Henri J. Nouwen:

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

“A friend is more than a therapist or confessor, even though a friend can sometimes heal us and offer us God’s forgiveness. A friend is that other person with whom we can share our solitude, our silence, and our prayer. A friend is that other person with whom we can look at a tree and say, “Isn’t that beautiful,” or sit on the beach and silently watch the sun disappear under the horizon. With a friend we don’t have to say or do something special. With a friend we can be still and know that God is there with both of us.” 


Photo by Frank Hamilton, courtesy Wikimedia Commons