Haines' Recovery, Six Months Later

    Artwork by Cara Murray

    Haines, Alaska (KINY) - The Haines Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG) has an update on the town's recovery, just over six months after the disastrous landslide in December of 2020.

      Haines LTRG was established a few weeks after the slide to help households and organizations recover from the disaster on a case-by-case basis. Nonprofits, faith-based groups, tribal and local governments, private sector businesses, and volunteer groups all partner with the Haines LTRG. They have taken on assisting 107 households and two organizations. So far, 30 of the 109 cases are considered closed and do not need any more assistance.

      "We're still working with 77 households that are actively receiving assistance," said Haines LTRG coordinator Sylvia Heinz in an interview with News of the North. "Assistance includes meeting critical needs such as food, rental or mortgage assistance, and other essential needs like utilities and mental health support for the uninsured and underinsured." She added it also means debris removal and reconstruction efforts.

      "Our case management team works individually with all of our cases, and every case has unique needs," she said.

      There are still 23 households in Haines that are living in temporary housing. Heinz said they can't go back to their homes for a variety of reasons, including continued power outages and physical blockage.

      "The whole process of disaster recovery has been sobering. It's affected so many people in Haines--so many of our residents," Heinz said. "They tell us that disaster recovery is like eating an elephant, you have to take one bite at a time. It's very inspiring to see the coordinated effort across government and tribal government, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and the private sector."

      "Seeing all these very different agencies working together makes it feel like we are going to eat that elephant," she said. "But it's going to take a long time."

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