Action Pathways Brings Hope to Cumberland County Citizens Still Struggling After Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane damage 3.jpgDespite nine months having passed since Hurricane Matthew slammed into North Carolina, vast numbers of Cumberland County citizens are still reeling from the storm’s aftermath. However, Action Pathways is working to provide hope to these individuals and families through a partnership with Alliance Behavioral Healthcare, aptly named “Hope4NC.” This Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program is part of a collaboration between the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“It can be devastating to lose everything and still have the daily struggle of living outside your home nine months later,” Hope4NC Disaster Recovery Coordinator Laressa Witt explained. “Added to the financial burden of starting all over, it can be very stressful for families.” 

Action Pathways recently hired approximately 10 outreach workers as part of its partnership with Hope4NC. These contract employees will work for the next several months, canvassing neighborhoods, hotels, rentals and shelters to offer disaster crisis counseling to those affected by the storm. These services include providing coping strategies and emotional support to help survivors manage the stress of their current situations.

“It is tough watching these individual and families who are going through such difficult times months after Hurricane Matthew hit our area,” Tyrone Fields, Action Pathways Hope4NC Outreach Worker, said. “However, it is absolutely wonderful to see the positive impact we are making in these people’s lives, just by reaching out and offering to listen to their stories.”

Action Pathways Hope4NC Outreach Worker Kathleen Lowe-Jacobs added, “Every day I'm in the field, Hurricane Matthew survivors thank me for being able to truly express their fears and frustrations to someone who is willing to take the time and empathize. These survivors have come to realize how important it is to connect with someone who understands the emotional stages they are going through after having faced the effects of a catastrophe, and it is my privilege to be able to really help them out.”

The program in itself does not provide home repairs; however, it works to refer citizens to a variety of local community resources that can be essential to helping victims put their lives and homes back together.DSC_1142.JPG

“We are honored to be a part of Hope4NC and the work it is doing to help Hurricane Matthew survivors confidently move forward – step by step – even in the midst of ongoing setbacks,” said Action Pathways CEO Cynthia L. Wilson. “As a nonprofit organization that focuses on Hunger, Housing, Education and Empowerment, Action Pathways did not give a second thought to partnering with Alliance Behavioral Healthcare on this all-too-important endeavor.”

Action Pathways has five teams – with two outreach workers per team – deployed across Cumberland County through the end of the year.Citizens who are still displaced from their homes or are continuing to experience emotional difficulties due to Hurricane Matthew can contact the confidential Hope4NC hotline at: (919) 407-2942.

Action Pathways efforts in assisting hurricane survivors has also been featured in the Fayetteville Observer. To read the full story, please visit: http://bit.ly/Hope4NC.