United Way invests to support neighbourhoods hit hardest by tornadoes

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Today, United Way Ottawa announced it will be supporting residents in the Dunrobin, Kinburn, Arlington Woods, Craig Henry and Greenboro neighbourhoods that were hardest hit by the tornadoes and storm on September 21.

United Way’s investment of $211,000 will provide community-based mental health and counselling services, information referrals, outreach to seniors and planning supports for those most affected by the tornadoes.

These services will be delivered through agency partners such as Western Ottawa Community Resource CentreNepean, Rideau and Osgoode Community Resource CentreSouth-East Ottawa Community Health Centre and The Salvation Army. In addition, United Way will provide support to grassroots organizations like the West Carleton Disaster Relief Group, local community associations and other volunteer groups by providing resources to address basic needs such as clothing and food.

Those who lost their homes face significant challenges in returning.

Michael Allen, President and CEO, United Way Ottawa

“Our team has been meeting with our partners and community volunteers on the ground since the storm, and we know that people are hurting. After the immediate relief needs are met, complex challenges and sometimes invisible struggles will linger,” said Michael Allen, President and CEO of United Way Ottawa. “United Way Ottawa’s investment today will address both immediate needs and support the long-term resiliency of residents in Dunrobin, Kinburn, Arlington Woods, Craig Henry and Greenboro. By sharing information between the After the Storm partners, we’re able to make targeted investments like this to ensure no one is forgotten.”

“We’ll be working with organizations, community groups and many others who have been responding quickly to support people directly affected by the tornadoes,” said Sandy Wooley, Executive Director of the Nepean, Rideau and Osgoode Community Resource Centre. “Our role will be to help people through the various challenging stages of the recovery process and we are committed to working with our community for the long-term.”

“We’re here for the residents of Dunrobin, Kinburn and surrounding area, and are pleased that United Way is making immediate investments to help our community recover,” said Angela Bernhardt, West Carleton Disaster Relief group representative. “Recovery will be a long process, but we have a very resilient community who are working together to support each other. The losses for our survivors are catastrophic. Having support to help families navigate insurance and relief programs, for trauma and other issues, and to manage their immediate needs will go a long way to help them get back on their feet.”

On October 3, After the Storm partners held their first meeting to discuss the ongoing and long-term needs in Ottawa neighbourhoods hit hardest by the tornadoes. At the meeting, the needs identified in the near and long-term include:

  • Families, children and individuals who experienced this crisis may need access to mental health supports and crisis counselling.
  • Residents have experienced damage from the storm and may need information and referral supports for insurance and basic needs.
  • Many residents have lost all of their food to feed their families.
  • Seniors may need outreach support to address issues that they are facing related to the storm.
  • Residents are living in precarious housing situations with instability for the future due to being displaced by the storm.

Partners at the response table include United Way Ottawa, City of Ottawa and councillors Eli El-Chantiry and Keith Egli, The Salvation Army, Canadian Red Cross, Ottawa Food Bank, Ottawa Community Foundation, Ottawa Senators Foundation, Ottawa Community Housing and Ottawa Community Housing Foundation, Champlain Community Support Network, United Muslims Organizations – Ottawa Gatineau, and West Carleton Disaster Assistance Group. Each organization’s individual efforts complement each other in ensuring tornado relief resources are invested where they are needed most and where they will have the greatest impact – now and in the long-term.

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