stuck resident diagram

Can you spot the difference? Is the difference important?

We believe the direction of the arrows holds the key to unlocking the question of how best to unstick the stuck. Putting the resident at the centre is not a novel approach for us, but as we mentioned last week, there is a new appetite in the earthquake recovery support space to understand what this means in a very practical way.

Last week we talked about the ‘stuck’; those people who for various reasons are struggling to make decisions with confidence.

For the last two years (at least), CanCERN has tried to get different formal agencies who we believed had the mandate to coordinate earthquake supports to do just that – coordinate  with residents’ needs firmly at the centre. It has been for the most part a frustrating experience knowing that there are in fact many supports out there but they have not been as visible or accessible to those most in need as they could have been. The support systems have also at times ticked more boxes for the deliverers of the support service than they have for the recipients.

It has finally dawned on us that those formal agencies are in fact not the right ones to lead coordination based on the stuck residents’ needs. Formal agencies have constraints of policy, funding contracts, agendas and targets, and politics with a small ‘p’. This can mean that decisions about how and where they focus their energies are driven by complex and competing concerns.

CanCERN is an informal organisation and we have no such constraints. We are funded philanthropically, so as long as we are respectful of that relationship and make decisions based on what is best for the people we serve, we can be flexible, innovative and direct. Basically we can lead without chains.

So getting back to the people we serve – the stuck – what is happening with earthquake supports in the space of ‘please help me to understand and make confident decisions about my claim/repair/rebuild’?

As you can see in the graphic above, there are lots of supports out there but it is difficult to be more specific about them. We certainly don’t know exactly what is available, who the support is targeted at and how a stuck person can find or be referred to them. *Other than anecdotally, we also don’t have a clear picture of how well they are being utilised by the stuck and how helpful they are. Keep in mind that part of being stuck can mean you don’t trust the services offering help, or you don’t realise those services exist.

Another part of the puzzle that needs to be unlocked is a clearer understanding of what earthquake support really looks like for the stuck people. We ‘hear’ that it doesn’t look like welfare, group hugs, glossy handouts or government service delivery, so what will be accepted, helpful and engaging?

We had the privilege of spending a few hours with Dr Rob Gordon this week to explore the  subject of how best to support the ‘stuck’. We were discussing the fact that many stuck residents continue to try to bash their issues out with their insurer/EQC rather than engaging with other support systems. Rob summed this up by saying, “the only system they’re using is the one that is frustrating them.”

Providing best earthquake support is now a key area that CanCERN is focusing on – understanding the existing resource, the need and the gaps or areas that need to be bridged to connect the two together in the stuck resident’s space.

*There are evaluation and reporting systems in place for most of these services. We have had access to some and not to others. This comment is not intended to question the overall effectiveness of service delivery of the individual services, but rather, to question what evaluation has taken place regarding the value of and access to services for the ‘stuck’.

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