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Community Forms Long-Term Recovery Team

Community Forms Long-Term Recovery Team; Group to address ongoing, evolving needs in Montecito


A new community-based volunteer group has been formed to provide ongoing support and assistance in Montecito’s 1/9 Debris Flow long-term recovery effort.

The Community Long Term Recovery Group follows national guidelines established by FEMA and VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) for long-term disaster recovery. The group, now in its formative stages, will soon play a central role as the Montecito disaster shifts from crisis response to long-term recovery.

“Our core mission will be to help assess the evolving needs of the community and connect residents to the right resources, whether it’s in the private sector, government or non-profit arena” said the Rev. Dr. Kate Wiebe, the recovery group’s chair and executive director of the Institute for Collective Trauma and Growth.

The team will also help create efficiencies by promoting communication and teamwork among the diverse assistance entities, Wiebe said.

“It’s very important that we avoid the duplication of efforts that can happen when assistance groups aren’t talking to each other,” Wiebe said. “This will break down silos and help everyone work together toward the common goal of recovery,” she added.

The group expects to function for the next 3 to 5 years as Montecito rebuilds from both the 1/9 Debris Flow and the Thomas Fire. The group includes an eight-member steering committee and a larger group that now has nearly 50 members representing a large array of interests.

In addition to environmental issues such as construction and debris removal, the team will address psychological and spiritual needs among residents, said Wiebe, a 10-year volunteer veteran of multiple national disasters.

“In many ways the second year can be more intense psychologically and spiritually,” Wiebe said. “There’s a lot of adrenaline the first year, and so much work to do, that the weight of it all may not fully hit,” she explained.

County officials said the long-term recovery group can provide ongoing support and manage diverse partnerships in a way that is best suited to a non-governmental entity.

“The Community Long Term Recovery Team is a critically important part of the Montecito rebuilding effort,” said Matt Pontes, assistant county executive officer for Santa Barbara County and director of recovery efforts. “This team will provide the kind of ongoing engagement that will facilitate and strengthen the partnerships necessary for Montecito to rebuild in a more efficient, resilient manner,” Pontes noted.

All community members are invited to attend the general, bi-weekly meetings of the Community Long Term Recovery Group. The group meets at the County Board of Supervisors conference room, 105 E. Anapamu St., on the first and third Wednesdays of each month from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, or to volunteer as an individual or an organization, please visit the CLTRG webpage.

Community Long Term Recovery Group

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