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UMCOR receives FEMA grant

The United Methodist Committee on Relief announced Thursday that it will coordinate a large-scale case management effort after Hurricane Katrina.

BY HEATHER MOYER | BALTIMORE | October 27, 2005

The United Methodist Committee on Relief announced Thursday that it will coordinate a large-scale case management effort after Hurricane Katrina.

The agency received a two-year case management grant worth $66 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). UMCOR says the new agreement with FEMA will benefit some 300,000 Katrina survivors scattered across the country. Hurricane Katrina displaced more than one million Gulf Coast residents when it struck in August.

UMCOR will use a review panel to select up to 12 other agencies with disaster response expertise to create a unified case management network to help get citizens back to being self-sustaining. Those agencies will include ones from within the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) network and also from other sources.

UMCOR's role will be to coordinate, monitor, and report on the work of 3,000 professional and volunteer case managers in delivery of services to people who were living in Alabama, Louisiana, or Mississippi before being displaced by Katrina. A core group of paid workers will supervise teams of trained volunteers. All involved agencies will have proven experience in the case management field. Every network member will also have access to case files through a unified reporting system.

"The program will complement, not duplicate, ongoing government efforts," said Paul Dirdak, UMCOR director. "FEMA turned to UMCOR because of our competence in this sector and their confidence that we can provide accountability."

UMCOR officials say the unified reporting system will help survivors avoid multiple intake interviews and receive assistance more quickly. The system will help network members identify unmet needs and avoid duplication of services.

The network members will also allocate small grants to grass roots organizations aiding the evacuees. Other monetary donations to the network will fund these grants so that communities will have capacity to continue case management beyond the two years envisioned by this agreement with FEMA.

"Communities will be better prepared in the future," said Dirdak. "Consortium members will hire locally, to strengthen communities' ability to address future disasters."

The grant is the largest ever received by UMCOR.


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