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FEMA, VOLUNTARY AGENCIES ANNOUNCE CASE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM TO ASSIST DISASTER SURVIVORS WITH LONG-TERM RECOVERY

10-30-2005

Washington, DC - The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced a $66 million case management grant, using donations from the international community, to be awarded to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) to assist Hurricane Katrina survivors with comprehensive long-term recovery needs.

The program will create a nationwide system of 3,000 case managers dedicated to assisting disaster survivors with unmet needs, from longer term housing to social services. This coordinated system will complement the existing casework already occurring in communities across the nation, in an effort to help individuals with the most extensive needs rebuild their lives after Hurricane Katrina.

"FEMA is committed to helping Hurricane Katrina survivors get their lives back on track after this unprecedented disaster," said Acting FEMA Director David Paulison. "UMCOR and NVOAD have long offered case management to disaster survivors and FEMA's support will allow them to expand their efforts in supporting the neediest individuals as they begin the next phase in their lives and achieve long-term recovery goals."

FEMA will provide UMCOR and NVOAD with $66 million in funding for the case management program, which will go along with $35 million in planned contributions by these organizations. FEMA will award to UMCOR/NVOAD funds donated by foreign countries, which were transferred to FEMA by the U.S. State Department, to assist with Hurricane Katrina recovery.

"We are extremely grateful for these international contributions to Hurricane Katrina recovery," said Acting Director Paulison. "This disaster has impacted the lives of thousands of our citizens and we appreciate the outpouring of support we have received from foreign donations, all in the name of helping people rebuild their lives."

UMCOR will coordinate, monitor, train and report on the work of 3,000 professional and volunteer case managers in delivery of services to people who were affected by Hurricane Katrina, no matter where in the United States they are now located.

"Case management is a concrete way to assure that disaster survivors achieve self sufficiency," said UMCOR Director Paul Dirdak. "FEMA turned to UMCOR because of our competence and accountability in providing case management to disaster survivors and our ability to complement FEMA's ongoing long-term recovery efforts."

Traditionally, after a disaster, voluntary and nonprofit organizations work together within a community to form long-term recovery committees, which use a case management process to identify and address survivors' unmet needs. This has been the case in Hurricane Katrina as well, but with an unprecedented challenge ahead and the need for equitable service and nationwide coordination, this national network of trained individuals working through a shared computer system will offer the connections needed for coordinating across long-term recovery committees in the field. The nationwide system, consisting of 600 paid case managers leading five-person teams will be fully implemented and operational by early December.

To ensure these foreign-donated funds and the case management services benefit the neediest survivors, UMCOR/NVOAD will work with nonprofit, federal, state and local partners to identify survivors with unmet needs even after receiving assistance from other programs. Referrals of survivors will come from socials services offices, FEMA, states and other voluntary organizations.