Prepare financially for when natural disaster strikes

“It’s always good to for us to be prepared for a natural disaster, whether or not it’s natural, right, or manmade. Our ability as households is to be able to plan long term.”
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 4:08 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Abby Hamilton, CEO and President of the Roanoke Valley United Way, talks with us on Here @ Home about being prepared in case a natural disaster happens.

“The United Way is present in over 1000 communities here in the United States and really, the goal of the United Way is to bring people together who are organizations and individuals that want to make a difference... so that we can work together and solving our community’s toughest challenges... here locally, our goal at United Way is to elevate families to self-sufficiency. And so during times of natural disaster, you can imagine that it’s very jarring for a lot of families. And so part of what United Way does, true to its name, is work with other entities during the natural disaster as part of response recovery and rebuilding effort, because we know it’s going to take more than just preparing for that disaster to happen. You know, you need assistance while it is happening, and even after.”

“One of the best resources that we have here in the Roanoke Valley, and across the state of Virginia is a system called 211, which is really an information and referral service that allows somebody on the other line to connect individuals who are in need of any of the basic needs, or any of the daily needs that they might have in life.”

Hamilton mentions how important it is to have an emergency fund. “It’s always good to for us to be prepared for natural disaster, whether or not it’s natural, right, or manmade. Our ability as households to be able to plan long term, have our family meeting, right, so that we know what to do in case of a disaster, including having a savings that we could tap into either short-term or long-term, what do you do as a family to get in touch with each other, or look for each other, find each other in case you find yourself in a disaster that separates members of the family. It also includes maybe having some basic emergency kits within your household.”

Now, can you talk about how to be financially smart? When these types of situations happen? Like an example that pops up for me is making sure you have cash too, instead of just credit cards? Yeah, yeah, I think there are two things that I think about whenever we talk about financial preparedness cheering for disaster, whether or not it’s manmade, or, or natural.”

Three things to remember if you find yourself in this situation:

  1. Cash instead of only relying on credit cards
  2. Have a formal relationship with a banking institution or credit union. One where you have a checking account and a savings account. (Sometimes you need to be able to access that money faster).
  3. “Set up an emergency fund, whether that might be $500, or whatever amount that is that you can tap into during times of disaster entities like the Financial Empowerment Center that can help you set financial goals so that you can be ready to meet them and have something on hand.”- says Hamilton.

Hamilton speaks on the importance of insurance coverage, too. “An excellent way to prepare ourselves during times of disaster will be to have insurance coverage, whether or not it’s for your home for an apartment that you rent even for your vehicle. It’s a requirement in order for you to drive that because they we know that if something happens with those primary structures that we rely on for shelter for transportation, they can take a huge debt out of somebody’s pocket.”

The above and following stories are part of a special Here @ Home edition called “Financially Free in 2023.”