The waters have receded and neighborhoods have dried out since the San Jose Flood displaced 14,000 people on February 22. The majority of residents have returned home. Yet there are still hundreds of victims who do not have a suitable home to return to, and the wait may be longer for others. While many have mucked out their basements or ground level floors, decontaminated what they could, and have returned to their normal routines, there are still residents who need all kinds of assistance.
As the Catholic Church’s local disaster response agency, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County is leading mid-term to long-term assistance response to families affected by the disaster. We are a member of CADRE (Collaborating Agencies’ Disaster Relief Effort), which is the network of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD).
Catholic Charities will assist survivors who are currently displaced, with short-term to mid-term housing assistance and housing search assistance. The agency also provides mid-term to long-term advocacy and guidance, help accessing additional resources, and compassionate care. All services are provided free of cost to people regardless of faith, legal status, race or nationality, age, disability, gender, or sexual orientation.
Our program staff and volunteers have assisted at the Local Assistance Center (LAC) at the George Shirakawa Community Center since it first opened. Catholic Charities disaster relief case workers are continuing to see families at Seven Trees Community Center (the disaster recovery shelter) and at Charities Housing Development Corporation’s Paseo-Senter Apartments, where Catholic Charities has program offices. This is located in the heart of the Rock Springs neighborhood, the hardest hit area during the flood.
“Catholic Charities staff and volunteers are committed to helping the community recover from this disaster,” said Raúl Rocha, Disaster Case Manager. “We know that many of the people affected were already struggling to make ends meet, and we want to help them get back on their feet, however long it takes.”
Catholic Charities urgently needs apartments for short term or mid-term master lease by Catholic Charities. The agency also needs volunteers who are willing to provide translation services, assessment, information and referral, counseling, and guidance to neighbors displaced by the flood. Since many of the flood victims are Vietnamese and Spanish speakers, we especially welcome volunteers fluent in either language. Learn more about the volunteer role at www.catholiccharitiesscc.org/assisting-community.
We are in this for the long haul and will help our neighbors until they are back on their feet. Thus, we also need funding for long-term advocacy, connections with available housing, and cash assistance to provide services and resources to flood clients. Any amount is welcome. To donate, please text “Flood” to (408) 669-4126 or visit www.catholiccharitiesscc.org/flood-relief. To offer housing email disasterrelief@CatholicCharitiesSCC.org or call (866) 305-0617.