Floodgates open

first_imgFacebook Linkedin Advertisement NewsLocal NewsFloodgates openBy admin – November 26, 2009 1025 Twitter Previous articleIBEC to formally withdraw from pay agreementNext articleNews briefs admincenter_img LIMERICK and Clare was put on full alert this week after the river Shannon burst its banks.With confirmation from the ESB that heightened water levels in Lough Derg are likely to cause increased flood levels downstream of Parteen, the mayor and city manager, have given an assurance that an emergency plan is in place for any eventuality.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Meantime families who were evacuated from Corbally to the Jury’s Inn are still uncertain when they will be able to return to their homes.“We’re trying to keep things as normal as possible for the children by sending them off to school,” said one resident. The father of three, one of 20 families evacuated from their homes on Monday, when the rising waters of the Shannon threatened their safety,  has no idea when they will be able to return.The families have a clear view from the hotel windows of the swollen river.“We hear there are fears of very high tides next week, so nobody knows how soon we will be able to go back, but meantime the hotel staff are terrific, even making school lunches for the children to take with them”.Another resident said that while she is “dying to get home,” feels fortunate compared to people in other parts of the country. “No water got into our homes but it was decided to evacuate as our houses in Riverbrook and those in Hampstead,  were deemed vulnerable. The seriousness of the situation hit home when the the Civil Defence arrived at 9pm and the families were taken out of Shannon Banks by police escort”.The consensus among the evacuated Corbally residents is that local councillor, Pascal Fitzgerald, should be nominated for a Person of the Year Award.“He did Trojan work – was working with the services day and night – he never went home”. Meanwhile Cllr Denis McCarthy is confident that although the water is rising in the Mill Road and the Red Path areas of Corbally, “the situation is holding and the area is well fortified by sandbags”.While the city’s other vulnerable locations of Clancy Strand, Sir Harry’s Mall and King’s Island have benefited from fortified walls and the installation of tide flex pipes, there is concern that high tides expected next week, combined with south-westerly winds and heavy rainfall, could pose the most serious challenge to-date.“We will be able to handle anything coming our way this week but next week poses a problem. If Parteen leaves water down the old channel from UL into the Shannon Banks, then we’d have a serious situation- Clare County Council will have to build a wall along the side of the river at Shannon Banks, as with global warming, the water levels will continue to rise,” commented Cllr John Gilligan.Deputy Jan O’Sullivan is calling for the construction of a protective barrier for the river side of Shannon Banks.Mayor Kevin Kiely said he has been given the strongest assurance from the city manager, Tom Mackey that he and his staff, have “everything in place, in terms of a plan to deal with any emergency that may arise”.The ESB has now confirmed  that with water levels in Lough Derg now at an all time high, the discharge of water from Parteen Weir is being increased, “The total rate of water discharge from Parteen is not expected to exceed the rate set on Monday, but it is expected to cause increased flood levels downstream of Parteen Weir by an estimated three inches, as it is discharging into an already flooded area.”The pedestrian walkways along the Canal are closed and members of the public are advised not to use them until further notice. Email Print WhatsApplast_img read more

COVID-19 complicates transition for foster youth aging out

first_imgchokkicx/iStockBy: AVERI HARPER, ABC News (SAN FRANCISCO) — When Rosie Portillo reached her 21st birthday in late April, it wasn’t all a celebration. It came with anxiety about how she would keep a roof over her head and food on her table during the coronavirus pandemic.Portillo has been in foster care for six years in California, where benefits typically end at age 21. She currently lives in a San Francisco Bay Area apartment subsidized by her foster care benefits and an organization focused on providing affordable housing for foster youth. She stopped working to care for her newborn daughter, Ailani.“I don’t have any other source of income, except from the system,” said Portillo, who lives with just her daughter. “So if that would have stopped, all my bills–they’re not turning off the lights but, like, it’s accumulating. You know the rent, stuff like that, it’s accumulating.”When California declared a state of emergency and shut down due to COVID-19, Portillo’s life was turned upside down.“Everything stopped, even school and all court sessions where you go in and you talk about your progress,” she told ABC News.The high school diploma program she was enrolled in shut down without the option of distance learning because there weren’t enough laptops and tablets to go around.“They were like, If we can’t provide for everyone, we can’t give it to you, either,” said Portillo.The circumstances have made it hard for Portillo to meet the minimum hours of work or school she needs to qualify for assistance to stay in her apartment.For older foster youth, eligibility for stipends and other benefits are dependent on the ability to work or attend school. During COVID-19-related shutdowns, meeting those basic requirements isn’t always possible, which could lead to a loss of funds and, in turn, housing security.“The biggest hurdles that we’re seeing right now are the people who literally are losing housing during the state of emergency,” said Sixto Cancel, a former foster youth and CEO of Think of Us, a non-profit focused on using technology to improve outcomes for foster children.Aging out of foster care under normal circumstances is tough. More than 23,000 young people age out of the U.S. foster care system each year and are at increased risk of homelessness. COVID-19 has only complicated things.In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a directive aimed to help foster youth like Portillo, ensuring that they would be able to receive benefits until the end of June.Other states — including Illinois, Michigan and Rhode Island, plus the District of Columbia — have also taken action to prevent foster youth from aging out during this crisis. But many others haven’t taken such action.“Your fate is tied to geography,” said Ruth White, executive director of National Center for Housing and Child Welfare.“Me being in foster care, especially as a young person that has been [in foster care] lifelong, my parent is the government,” said Cancel, 28, who aged out of the foster care after spending most of his life in the system. “And so all of my basic needs are basically met through the government, who is supposed to help me make sure I’m even eating.”Advocates like Cancel want to see a suspension of work and school requirements to receive benefits, a moratorium placed on discharging older youth from foster care during the pandemic, and six months afterward, expedited re-entry into foster care for youth who have lost their benefits.White believes the federal statutes that regulate the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services program that supports older foster youth includes a caveat for “medical conditions.”“It says if a medical condition prevents the young person from meeting these requirements, they’re exempt. But it doesn’t say that the child has to have a medical condition. It says a medical condition,” said White. “So our interpretation of that is a pandemic is a medical condition that prevents us from going to work or school, so we feel that the federal law already has a workaround.”While funding comes from the federal program called the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, the program is run by states and localities. Foster care alumni organizations have been calling on states and local administrators to ensure that foster youth aren’t falling through the cracks in the midst of the pandemic.In order to keep up with the work requirements to keep her apartment, Portillo told ABC News she plans to start working soon, though she worries about positions that could put her at risk of contracting COVID-19 because she’s an asthmatic.“Being a youth who does not have anywhere else to go, this is the only smart option I have,” said Portillo.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more