Five Years After Hurricane Katrina, The Salvation Army Continues its Commitment to the Gulf Coast Region by Building Resilient Communities
Since the start of the disaster recovery, The Salvation Army has been an integral part of the disaster-relief effort, extending help and assistance to over 2.6 million people affected by Hurricane Katrina. In 2006, The Salvation Army Alabama - Louisiana - Mississippi Division Headquarters launched a Community Recovery Plan for Louisiana and Mississippi, with the objectives of building community capacity, sustaining affordability, ensuring quality of life and improving community resilience.
The Plan is composed of six key projects.
-Project One - The Army established eight Major Distribution Centers along the Gulf Coast where pre-registered Salvation Army clients could go to shop for free donated in-kind goods such as furniture and large appliances. Over 106,100 families received assistance from Distribution Centers.
-Project Two - The Army provided emergency relief at Disaster Assistance Centers, which served as the information hub for clients as well as distribution points for food and clothing. At the centers, clients met with trained caseworkers to register for Salvation Army services, including cash gift card distribution. The Army opened 265,100 cases representing over 828,000 individuals.
-Project Three - Army representatives participated in long-term community recovery efforts, meetings and committees throughout the region. Discretionary funds were allocated for use on programs that broadly benefit disaster victims within a community, such as buying tools for rebuild teams or purchasing a generator for a key community facility. The Army supported 2,412 community projects valued at over $5.5 million.
-Project Four - The Army helped fund and supply professional housing rebuild teams from other relief organizations and created volunteer villages that offered housing to relief workers. As part of the project, The Army transitioned two key warehouse facilities in La Place, LA and Biloxi, MS, to become reconstruction supply facilities and tool banks for recognized rebuild groups. Over 8,000 individuals resided at the volunteer villages representing over 56,000 nights of lodging for recovery teams. Over 84,000 cases helping 350,200 people with repair, rebuilding, furnishings and supplies.
-Project Five - Over 2,200 homeownership partner grants were distributed evenly to Louisiana and Mississippi. The Army worked with partner organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, to provide financial resources for the purchase of new homes.
-Project Six - The Army allocated resources to help at least 5,000 people who became unemployed as a result of the hurricanes to receive job training and re-employment services, in cooperation with partner organizations.
Following the Community Recovery Plan, The Salvation Army began carrying out a series of programs and projects across the Gulf Coast that will enhance community resilience.
The Salvation Army continues to make investments in the long-term viability and resilience of communities impacted by Hurricane Katrina. These investments look to the future and mark a significant investment in the long term mission of The Salvation Army in communities across the region.
-New Orleans, LA: The Salvation Army, with local partners, is currently developing 125 new, energy efficient and affordable homes, and renovating 125 more with green building standards in New Orleans and surrounding areas as part of its EnviRENEW program. The houses will be occupied by police officers, teachers and other key groups to encourage growth and development in the community. The $12.5 million program will also provide grants to an additional 500 homeowners to weatherize and increase energy efficiency in existing homes. Energy efficient housing lowers owner occupancy expenses enabling greater long term savings for low and fixed income households.
The Army is also working to improve attendance rates at area middle and high schools through the Emerge program. Results so far are encouraging with 19 of the 21 local Emerge schools averaging 92 percent-plus attendance. The Salvation Army will host a "Resiliency Summit" August 26 in New Orleans to bring community leaders together to discuss these and other long-term recovery efforts in the city.
-Mobile, AL: Late last month, The Salvation Army opened a new shelter for women and children on the site of a shelter destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The new shelter will house up to 50 homeless mothers and their children and provide case management, child care and educational opportunities.
-Biloxi, MS: The Salvation Army has begun construction on a 52,000 square foot Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in an area devastated following Hurricane Katrina. The $16 million center will feature a water park, a fitness center and performing arts space. The new building is on the site of Yankie Stadium - where The Salvation Army previously operated a "volunteer village" for Katrina aid workers. The center is scheduled to open in late 2011.
Recovery projects are intended to enhance opportunities for children and families, while also creating a sense of community and cohesiveness among residents. The Emerge program in New Orleans and the Kroc Center in Biloxi will have a significant impact on the future of children and families long after recovery is complete.
"A building like this (Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center) will change the dynamics of this community." stated Lt. Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi.
"Through EnviRENEW and Emerge, The Salvation Army will uphold its dedication to the recovery of New Orleans until the day people return and once again prosper in their hometown," stated Captain Ethan Frizzell, Area Commander for The Salvation Army in New Orleans.