Moving forward in Baby steps

Another day of phone calls. There are some stories of small victories. A job that is waiting for someone back in New Orleans when they can get back there. An evacuee who received a large sum from FEMA to replace damaged property. Someone who was able to move back to New Orleans, living now in a trailer provided by FEMA on the property where her home once stood. She told me that it was hard to lose so much, but it was still good to be home and she would try to rebuild. Small victories that seem too large given the inadequacies we\'ve come to expect.\r\n\r\nFor the amount of time I spent looking up numbers and calling people you would think I\'d have spoken to more than 4 people. But each call takes so long when you do get someone on the other end. The questionaire only covers so much. It doesn\'t ask about what people really want to say. I ask \"Did you get your rental assistance?\" This seemingly yes or no question elicits long answers. What they want me to ask is \"How are you? How can I make it better? How can I erase the past 7 months?\" But that isn\'t in the script so you ad lib a bit. And you have a hard time cutting someone off when you know they need to speak and be heard. So the callouts take a long time. For all the time I\'ve spent on the phone with someone I don\'t know if we\'ll actually be able to speed up their receipt of assistance or influence the granting of an appeal. But it feels worth it when we end the conversation and they thank me for calling and tell me how nice it is to have someone talk to them and take down their concerns. Keeping in contact with someone in crisis and reminding them that they are not forgotten is sometimes the difference between a bad day and an okay day. Knowing that I can make a handful of people feel okay makes my trip feel worthwhile.\r\n\r\nOriginally posted:



“Moving forward in Baby steps,” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed August 11, 2022,