Since 2005, LSSDR has been providing help, healing and hope to Hurricanes Katrina & Rita survivors across the Gulf Coast, from Houston to Mississippi, providing repair and rebuild of homes, disaster case management, emotional and spiritual care programs for adults and children, and active support of long-term recovery efforts.
From 2005 – 2008, LSSDR coordinated the work of 39,710 volunteers from across the country who helped to repair and rebuild homes damaged or destroyed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. From Port Arthur, Texas, to New Orleans, Louisiana, to Biloxi, Mississippi, volunteers contributed over 1.7 million hours in rebuilding communities, mucking out and repairing nearly 7,600 homes, and completely rebuilding 2,675 homes. In Gulfport, MS, LSSDR also partnered with Habitat for Humanity to rebuild over 50 homes in the Forest Heights neighborhood. As part of this work, LSSDR housed the majority of these volunteers in LSSDR-run volunteer camps, providing hospitality, shelter, showers, meals and gathering space for volunteers.
Disaster Case Management:
LSSDR provided supportive disaster case management services to 10,615 households during Hurricane Katrina recovery. 7,127 of those households were served through LSSDR’s participation in the national Katrina Aid Today (KAT) disaster case management program. KAT was a national consortium lead by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) with nine national partner agencies, including Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR). As the regional affiliate agency of LDR, LSSDR provided worked to assess Katrina survivors’ unmet disaster-related needs, develop recovery plans in partnership with survivors, and connect them to available resources so as to complete their recovery. LSSDR KAT case managers successfully connected survivors to over $6.8 million in services and provided nearly $1.8 million in direct financial assistance to LSSDR clients for unmet needs such as
furniture, appliances, clothing, and utility deposits.
In partnership with Habitat for Humanity International, LSSDR opened and ran the Habitat Family Support Call Center, screening hurricane-affected applicants for local Habitat for Humanity housing. This was done through a call center in Austin, Texas, to which Habitat applicants would call to be screened for Habitat homes. Pre-screened applicants were then sent to the local Habitat chapters in Beaumont and Houston, Texas, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Gulfport, Mississippi, for further processing and final selection as Habitat homeowners. The Habitat Family Support Call Center screened nearly 1,500 applicants, submitted 183 full applications to local Habitat chapters, with 63% of those applicants approved for Habitat homes.
Emotional & Spiritual Care:
LSSDR provided a number of supportive emotional and spiritual care services throughout Hurricanes Katrina and Rita recovery, particularly for children. LSSDR ran 68 Camp NOAHs, a multi-day “day camp” for children survivors of disaster. Over 1,400 volunteers worked 70,600 hours to provide these supportive services to 3,318 children. LSSDR also provided individual and family counseling to Katrina survivors, through a generous grant from the McCormick Tribune Foundation. This program provided nearly 2,000 individual counseling sessions, 188 family sessions, and 10 group sessions. Through a grant from the AARP, LSSDR also provided supportive group counseling to 189 seniors through 27 different local groups. LSSDR emotional and spiritual care staff also provided over 3,100 counseling sessions to survivors of both hurricanes.
LSSDR continues to have a presence on the ground in New Orleans, Louisiana, supporting the ongoing long-term recovery efforts throughout Southeastern Louisiana. LSSDR staff provides leadership and guidance to the Greater New Orleans Disaster Recovery Partnership (GNODRP) as it works to continue to piece together resources for the ongoing Katrina recovery efforts.