Upper Valley Strong Mission Statement
Upper Valley Strong is a group of organizations whose mission is to help communities rebuild after natural disaster.
What is Upper Valley Strong?
Upper Valley Strong is a team of non-profit agencies, churches, schools, towns and local branches of State government. Under the Upper Valley Strong umbrella approximately 50 agencies, municipalities, and numerous community representatives work together to respond to natural disasters in our region. Our purpose is to get direct services to people in need and to share resources and expertise to make sure support dollars are used in the most effective manner possible. Upper Valley Strong is considered a Community Organization Active in Disasters (COAD), assisting with local and effective disaster recovery.
Our service region covers the Upper Valley area in both Vermont and New Hampshire. We work with Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission (TRORC) as well Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Comission (UVLSRPC) to obtain disaster-related information more effectively to create a more cohesive approach to disaster response and recovery.
We are your neighbors helping people whose lives have been impacted by disasters in our region. At our core, we are support agencies you already know, such as the Upper Valley Haven, COVER, SEVCA, and the Upper Valley Housing Coalition.
Upper Valley Strong was originally formed in 2011 as the Long-Term Recovery Committee in response to Tropical Storm Irene.
The mission of Upper Valley Strong Long-Term Recovery Committee is to create, strengthen, expand and coordinate disaster recovery efforts as needed throughout the designated area, including; gathering and sharing information; assessing individual and community needs; obtaining and disbursing financial and other resources; conducting triage and disaster case management; expediting residents’ access to services; facilitating interim and permanent housing solutions; and collaborating to resolve the full spectrum of disaster-caused recovery needs.
Our Tropical Storm Irene service area included: Plymouth, Bridgewater, Woodstock, Hartland, Hartford, Pomfret, Barnard, Stockbridge, Norwich, Sharon, Royalton, Bethel, Rochester, Thetford, Strafford, Tunbridge, Randolph, Fairlee, W Fairlee, Vershire, Chelsea, Bradford, Corinth and Pittsfield.
Upper Valley Strong conducted initial assessments to determine the fair distribution of resources, found housing solutions, coordinated volunteers and professionals for rebuild projects and communicated to our constituents – families in need and our long list of helpers. Lastly, we worked to gather funds or identify funding sources to support our mission.
The Upper Valley Housing Coalition led the charge with Upper Valley Strong. Each of the committees of Upper Valley Strong (Community Assessment, Triage, Interim Housing and Construction) worked on specific projects with the Upper Valley Housing Coalition coordinating and supporting these efforts. The Housing Coalition chaired the Steering Committee, organized and led meetings, and worked on communications, fundraising and other joint efforts.
SEVCA (Southeastern Vermont Community Action) hired two Disaster Recovery Service Coordinators, who conducted initial needs assessments, mobilized public and private resources, and coordinated services to ensure that everyone received assistance without duplication of resources. The coordinators then shifted their emphasis to disaster case management and long-term recovery assistance. SEVCA provided home repair and mold remediation services for those who faced unsafe and/or unhealthy housing conditions. It also collected furniture, clothing, and house wares in a donated warehouse and distributed them to affected households.
The Upper Valley Haven gathered donations of food, clothing, bedding, and cleaning products. In the first weeks after the disaster, the Haven distributed over 48 box truck and carloads of food, water and other supplies to 16 different communities. It also provided these goods directly to households with immediate needs. The Haven continued to provide case management, distribute donated goods, and supplemental funding through participation in the Upper Valley Strong collaboration.
COVER Home Repair was a key center for organizing volunteers to assist with mucking out, demolition and early construction of homes following Irene. Initially, COVER’s response also included a voucher program at the ReCover Store for people to acquire discounted appliances and furniture. COVER accepted applications for construction support services. These services included: construction consulting, connecting homeowners to building professionals willing to volunteer their time and direct construction with volunteers.
Upper Valley Strong, Today
We are able to obtain national and regional resources and disaster relief funding to assist with our mission. When funds are raised and collected—whether through large events or through local fund drives—Upper Valley Strong puts those dollars to work helping people. Upper Valley Strong receives major funding from the Vermont Community Foundation, Granite United Way and New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.
Upper Valley Strong also provides training for volunteers to conduct themselves safely and effectively on disaster sites. These training programs are available to corporations, groups, and anyone interested in learning more about helping their neighbors in times of disaster. Contact Us to learn more about volunteer disaster safety training.