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Recovery after disaster: the family financial toolkit

Fri, May 27th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

Extension Notes

By Jerrold Tesmer, Extension Educator for Fillmore/Houston counties

On Sunday evening I surveyed much of the tornado damage across Bristol and Harmony Township. When I arrived at the office Monday morning Phyllis Onstad, Extension Educator in Family Resource Management had a message waiting for me about a NEW, FREE, ONLINE TOOLKIT to assist individuals and families to put the pieces of their financial recovery together after experiencing a natural disaster-Recovery After Disaster: The Family Financial Toolkit. I wanted to pass that along as quickly as possible to those that might find it helpful.

Financial recovery from a natural disaster is often a complex and long-term process. Individuals and families can use this online, hands-on toolkit to learn key strategies for financial recovery, identify helpful resources, and explore options they may have as they make financial decision--financial decisions which may impact their financial well-being for the rest of their lives. There are no easy fixes and guarantees but there are tools available that will help disaster survivors along the road to financial recovery.

The Recovery After Disaster: The Family Financial Toolkit content was developed with input from disaster survivors and those who work closely with them on the often long road to financial recovery. In the toolkit find:

•10 key strategies every disaster survivor should know as they begin to work on their financial recovery. You are provided the tools needed to work on these strategies.

•Checklists on what to do in the first hours and days after the disaster, when you return to your property plus key financial issues and resources related to the clean-up phase of the recovery process.

•Worksheets to help you assess your financial situation which will be used to make your plan for long-term recovery

•Actions to explore plus housing assessment tools to use as you work on both your short-term and long-term housing needs. Included are separate units specific to the homeowner and to the renter. These units provide examples of multiple sources of assistance and resources.

•A "new normal" may feel like it is a long way off at this time. This section helps individuals understand that things will never be the same as before the disaster but eventually you will come to a new normal.

•Rounding out the toolkit are state specific disaster resources for families found in the last section of the toolkit.

This toolkit was developed by the University of Minnesota Extension and North Dakota State University Extension to help families with their disaster-related financial recovery process and can be found at:

Just as you do not use all the tools in your toolkit on any one project; disaster survivors can pick and choose individual units, worksheets or tools to use depending on their situation. Do not try to do too much at one time; find people who can help you complete key steps towards your recovery. Friends and loved ones can assist disaster survivors in both accessing the toolkit and working with them on the financial recovery strategies and tools.

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