stuck wordleHere are a couple of sobering pictures – not designed to depress but they are certainly here to paint a visual reminder of what ‘stuck’ feels like.stages-of-grief-3


Stuck is a term Brian coined about a year ago to define the residents we were serving. It’s a different group from ‘earthquake affected’ as almost every person in Canterbury can put their hand up for that term.

We distinguish the difference by a resident’s ability to function during residential rebuild decision-making. What we know is that there are people that can process information, access help when they need it and make decisions they are confident of. Then there are ‘stuck’ people who may function incredibly well in every other aspect of their life, but when faced with their earthquake claim or repair/rebuild decisions, become paralysed.

That paralysis can be a very internal thing and we are hearing more and more from people who have a bodily reaction to the very idea of having to deal with their issues. It can also be a figurative paralysis at the hands of the external decision makers who may lack concise and timely communication, or have an inability to get everyone on the same page of understanding.

Either way, stuck people need extra support and CanCERN is now thinking about how we can structure our work to better find and unstick the stuck.

One of the encouraging things (could be an unusual choice of words) is that the agencies have also finally come to the place where they recognise there is a difference between ‘earthquake affected’ and ‘stuck’ and they too are looking for solutions. By its very nature, being stuck can be a mistrusting frame of mind, so many will scoff at the idea that agencies have that much heart. There is also likely to be a fair bit of scoffing about the idea that agencies may be trying to unstick residents in a way that does not rip the resident off.

But none of that thinking helps CanCERN find solutions.

We know from experience that our best solutions have come from coordination and collaboration; Let’s Find and Fix is a great example of this. Now is the time to cash in on our relationships with agencies and look at ways CanCERN can formalise pathways to play the role of circuit breaker (thanks to Sam for that great term).

Big changes ahead for CanCERN, perhaps? Watch this space.