Commonwealth Advocates for Recovery Efforts on Monday appealed to members of the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation for help in supporting their project of building typhoon-proof homes for Saipan families that still have unmet housing needs, more than seven months after Typhoon Soudelor pummeled the island.
CARE is asking SNILD for $250,000, which is part of the total request of up to $5 million that they stated in a letter sent last Feb. 18. The $5 million is part of a multi-agency, two-year plan to finance repairs and rebuilding for families with still unmet housing needs.
CARE director Jenny Hegland made the presentation to SNILD members, led by chair Rep. John Paul Sablan (R-Saipan), informing the body on the status of their work in helping all affected families recover from the disastrous typhoon.
She was accompanied by CARE president Alex Sablan, while CARE vice president Lauri Ogumoro, secretary John Hirsch, treasurer Shelane Borja, CARE construction committee chair Steve Jang, some of the volunteers and survivors, and American Red Cross disaster case managers were also present.
Reps. Blas Jonathan Attao (Ind-Saipan), Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan), Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan), Joseph Lee Pan Guerrero (R-Saipan), Felicidad T. Ogumoro (R-Saipan), Edwin K. Propst (Ind-Saipan), Vinson E. Sablan (Ind-Saipan), Francis S. Taimano (Ind-Saipan), Ramon A. Tebuteb (Ind-Saipan), and Edmund S. Villagomez (Ind-Saipan) were the other SNILD members present.
The $250,000 would ensure CARE that they could get the services pledged by the Mennonite Disaster Services, World Renes, and AmeriCorps VISTA positions.
Hegland said more than seven months have passed, but there are still families living in emergency tents with most of them still waiting for the process of their appeals to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “Many of these families simply have nowhere else to turn for help.”
Data collected by case managers showed that 477 or 91 percent of 524 households with unmet housing needs have a family member that is elderly, under 3 years old, with immediate medical needs, and their income is below the poverty line.
“CARE has done everything to help these families. FEMA assisted but there are a lot more that needs help, especially people who are not covered because of their status,” added Alex Sablan. “These are people who are contributing to the community. People who have also helped us grow.”
“Sixty-six percent are non-citizens, they are not of Northern Mariana Islands Descent. CARE tried every effort just to help them and we exhausted everything. That’s why we are requesting SNILD for help,” added Sablan.