PINE BELT (WDAM) - The road to recovery is underway, and R3SM is taking the lead on that process for most residents in the Pine Belt.
"FEMA has closed down the Disaster Recovery Centers, they've turned over the registrants' information to R3SM," R3SM CEO Sheila Varnado said. "We are in the process of following up with almost 2,000 registrants, and we've contacted about 500 people already on that list."
Each of those cases will go before an unmet needs committee and case management to see how it is being handled, according to Varnado.
"We already have a working committee, we had our first meeting a week ago, last Thursday, and there are in fact cases that were approved for action, about seven cases were approved during that meeting," she said.
Of those seven cases, three were approved to be full-rebuilds and four were just for repairs.
Varnado urged people to be patient, saying the organization is helping people from Forrest, Lamar and Perry counties.
"Once the unmet need has been established, it's been presented to the unmet needs committee, there's actual dollars associated with that, and it's dollars that tell them exactly what the need is," Varnado said. "Case management is taking place right now, when they have cases that are fully vetted, they have all of the information they need and they have established what the unmet needs are, then they bring it before the unmet needs committee."
With that, the estimated cost of the project is narrowed down, along with the materials, labor or skilled labor, and who can do the work. Varnado added that every case in the program is different.
"It's all looked at on a case-by-case basis, primarily though we use volunteers, but there are times, depending upon the scope of the job or the nature of it, volunteers may not be able to do that kind of work and then of course, we do hire contractors," Varnado said.
Varnado said that if anyone has any questions regarding the process, they can contact R3SM.