SALT looks to complete 15 major rebuild equivalents this summer
Still battling Irene’s devastation, Schoharie Area Long Term recovery wants to get at least 40 more families back in their homes this summer.
To that end, SALT began a major fundraising drive to get $300,000 to repair those homes and is seeking donations now.
SALT announced the drive Friday, with officials adding that although Irene struck the Schoharie Valley nearly two years ago, many families remain homeless.
By coordinating thousands of volunteers over the past 20 months, SALT has been the major organizer for flood recovery.
That effort must continue, SALT Executive Director Sarah Goodrich said.
“We’re trying to put on a big push now because we’ll have more volunteers in the summer,” she said
“We want to get people back in their homes or at least in decent living conditions.”
SALT’s plan for the summer is to complete 15 “major rebuild equivalents,” though the work would be spread out over at least 40 homes, Ms. Goodrich said.
“It’s the equivalent of building 15 homes from the ground up,” she said.
SALT also wants a major push now because building codes are tightening up. In the months right after Irene, many towns and villages relaxed codes so that recovery could proceed quickly.
“Now they’re a little more stringent, as they should be,” Ms. Goodrich said, “so it will require additional work.”
A recent SALT survey found that nearly 300 properties from Prattsville to Esperance still need work and 130 require major reconstruction.
And even now, 20 months later, those damage numbers may grow. Some families didn’t want to ask for help at first, tried to do the work themselves but couldn’t or just ran out of money.
“Every week, people are still coming in for help,” Ms. Goodrich said. “They’re at the end of their energy and emotional rope.
“Certainly there is still a need.”
The emotion factor is often as important as the physical, AmeriCorps VISTA Construction Coordinator Dan Boggs said.
“We aren’t just rebuilding homes, we’re building relationships, establishing trust, helping folks who weren’t just physically impacted with the loss of a home, but emotionally impacted as well,” Mr. Boggs said.
SALT offers many ways to donate, but some people find their own methods.
“A lot of people have helped with garage sales or runs, or maybe they ask for donations instead of birthday presents,” Ms. Goodrich said. “They’re very generous.”
To donate, visit SALT’s website, www.saltdevelopment.org.