Nonprofits Report $15 million in flood relief donations; 179 homes purchased through Metro’s buyout program
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In advance of the second anniversary of the historic May 2010 flooding, Mayor Karl Dean today unveiled NERVE, a free online tool developed by Metro to provide valuable information to the public during disasters. He was joined by Metro officials and representatives from the nonprofit community, who provided a comprehensive update of Nashville’s ongoing flood recovery effort.
Disaster-recovery accomplishments include $15.04 million received by The Community Foundation in flood relief donations; 179 homes that have been purchased and 99 that have been demolished through Metro’s home buy-out program; and 562 homeowners assisted through the non-profit Housing Fund’s We Are Home gap financing program. A comprehensive canvassing program undertaken by the Flood Recovery Network last fall helped ensure that assistance was made available to nearly every Davidson County property owner impacted by the flood.
“I am proud of the way our community came together in the days after the flood, and I am proud of how far we have come in the two years since then,” Dean said. “Metro has made a lot of progress in creating innovative tools to keep our residents safe during emergencies, most notably NERVE, which will be a one-stop online site during disasters for the public to find critical information about road closures and emergency shelters. I am grateful to our Metro departments, community groups and, most importantly, our residents for the work that has been done to build back our city stronger than before.”
The Nashville Emergency Response Viewing Engine (NERVE) includes real-time information about road closures, school closings and locations of emergency shelters, food and water distribution centers and Disaster Assistance Centers. It can be found online at http://maps.nashville.gov/NERVE.
The innovative tool can help navigate residents to shelters and other emergency resources by routing them around closed roads and has the ability to show evacuation areas. Information will be posted to NERVE during emergencies.
Additionally, Metro created the Nashville Situational Awareness for Flooding Events (SAFE) program, an internal mapping tool to help Metro better predict where and when flooding will occur. Other cities are in the process of implementing the same program using Nashville SAFE as a model. Metro also has combined its Metro Community Hotline and 311 to more efficiently handle citizen calls during emergencies.
Through Metro’s Hazard Mitigation Home Buyout program, 179 homes have been purchased and 99 have been demolished. Acquisition is pending on an additional 28 homes.
“Our team at Metro Water Services has executed the home buyout program with record speed, closing and demolishing a large number of homes even prior to the one-year anniversary,” said Scott Potter, Metro Water’s director. “We will continue to work as efficiently as possible with participating homeowners and the Federal Emergency Management Agency so that we can continue to remove properties from the floodway and protect residents from hazardous situations.”
The We Are Home program, which was created by nonprofit The Housing Fund with the support of the Mayor’s Office, has assisted 562 homeowners by providing $9.6 million to help with the cost of flood repairs not covered by insurance, FEMA and the Small Business Administration. Average assistance is just over $17,000 per home.
“With new federal disaster funding, We Are Home is expanding to address work that remains to be done on housing in affected neighborhoods,” said Loretta Owens, Executive Director of The Housing Fund. “Those programs include grant and loan assistance for rental properties, for homes that need to be elevated and for individuals who are relocating as a result of the Metro buyout program.”
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, which is designated in Metro’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan to collect community donations in times of disaster, received $15.04 million in flood relief donations. To date, all of the contributions have been distributed or allocated to organizations addressing flood recovery throughout Tennessee.
Through the work of these organizations, nearly 12,000 damaged home were repaired, 586 home were rebuilt and nearly 800,000 volunteer hours dedicated to flood response were logged. Some 182,000 clients were served through a broad range of nonprofits.
“Though the work continues, our community should be incredibly proud of the unparalleled generosity and the tireless work that has gone into our recovery,” said Ellen Lehman, president of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. “Most disaster response takes many years and sometimes decades, but this community is already far, far along its way to recovery. The Community Foundation is honored to have partnered with Mayor Karl Dean, Metro government and 112 local nonprofits to help Nashville and Middle Tennessee rise above, restore community and rebuild lives through providing the funding necessary to make over 182,000 instances of service accessible to flood survivors.”
Today’s event was held at the Office of Emergency Management’s Emergency Operations Center. Also in attendance were representatives from the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville.
“As we set out to get a handle on the size and scope of recovery after the flood, United Way gathered input from communities that had dealt with disasters of this magnitude and we were told to expect a three to five year process,” said Eric Dewey, president of United Way of Metropolitan Nashville. “Thanks to the hard work of a number of very capable partners and a sound operating model, United Way of Metropolitan Nashville was able to mobilize six Restore The Dream centers that helped 1,200 families—70% of all known flood cases—reach recovery on their own terms in less than 16 months.”