Katrina Aid Today Transfers Activity To Local Organizations
NEW YORK, NY, April 4, 2008—The national case management consortium, Katrina Aid Today, led by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), completed its grant-funded activity on March 31. The consortium offered disaster case management services to individuals and families rebuilding their lives after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Still other survivors of the hurricane will be assisted directly through the consortium’s existing social service network.
A $66 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) allowed UMCOR to organize Katrina Aid Today in response to the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The original grant period of two years was extended by six months through March 2008.
At its peak, the consortium had 138 offices in 34 states. During the extension, after consultation with consortium members, offices were realigned to cover 18 states in the most vulnerable areas. In all 73,346 households, representing 193,633 individuals and families were assisted and $137,706, 596 was leveraged for recovery.
In order to provide services to more survivors in Louisiana and Mississippi, FEMA agreed to provide additional funds directly to agencies who worked with Katrina Aid Today. "While UMCOR will not be directly involved with the extension, we are encouraged to know that FEMA wishes to continue assistance to these facing challenges related to recovery, including housing issues," said Tom Hazelwood, executive for UMCOR, domestic disaster response.
"A key reason that our national and local partners were selected to be a part of the grant was that they are firmly established in their communities," explained Jim Cox, executive director, Katrina Aid Today. "The case management services they offered under the grant expanded existing social services for two and a half years to meet the needs of the large number of survivors living in or relocating to their communities. Now that the grant period is closing, they can maintain an ongoing presence for persons in their communities who may still require assistance."
The consortium used proven best practices techniques in case management developed and refined by UMCOR and partners of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD). Case managers worked with survivors to help them write recovery plans, navigate the labyrinth of paperwork, advocate for resources to meet unmet needs, and offer emotional and spiritual support.
"It will take years to recover from a disaster of the magnitude of Hurricane Katrina," remarked Hazelwood. "Katrina Aid Today was an important resource for the initial thirty months. Survivors who still need case management services have been or will be folded into the social service fabric of their communities. In addition, rebuilding organizations and long term recovery committees remain in place in many communities to address the continuing recovery."
Katrina Aid Today recently released a program book which summarizes the work of the consortium. The publication includes descriptions of the program, partner profiles, summary statistics, maps, survivor stories, and photographs. It has been made available to the nine national partners in printed form, and will be available on the Katrina Aid Today web site, www.katrinaaidtoday.org.
UMCOR is the not-for-profit global humanitarian aid organization of the United Methodist Church. UMCOR is working in more than 80 countries worldwide, including the United States. Our mission, grounded in the teachings of Jesus, is to alleviate human suffering-whether caused by war, conflict or natural disaster, with open hearts and minds to all people.UMCOR responds to natural or civil disasters that are interruptions of such magnitude that they overwhelm a community's ability to recover on its own.