Texas Disaster Survivors to Receive Disaster Case Management Services from Consortium of Experienced Voluntary Agencies
(PRWEB) March 09, 2018- Joining together as one to provide disaster survivors in Texas with access to national-level expertise combined with local relationships, members of the board of directors of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster today approved a motion to move forward with a disaster case management program they will administer with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in cooperation with the state of Texas.

In 2017, the state of Texas bore much of the impact of the 16 billion-dollar weather and climate disasters that impacted the United States. While the state and disaster response agencies were responding to 2017’s storms they were still dealing with the aftermath of the weather events of 2015 and 2016, pushing them to their capacity limits and beyond.
Through “Project Comeback: Texas”, a pilot program specific to the state, five member organizations of National VOAD will join together to implement a disaster case management delivery mechanism that will enable each agency to focus on their areas of expertise while effectively and efficiently responding to the needs of Texans living in the 41-county Hurricane Harvey declaration area. The five consortium members will help build local capacity and implement this with other NVOAD and/or state VOAD members.
National VOAD partners participating in the consortium are Catholic Charities USA, the official domestic relief agency of the U.S. Catholic Church; ICNA Relief USA, one of the nation’s Muslim disaster response agencies; Lutheran Disaster Response US, the domestic disaster ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, working in partnership with Lutheran Social Services of the South Disaster Response/Upbring (LSSDR); Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the national council of the Society St. Vincent de Paul’s Disaster Services Corporation (DSC); and, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the global humanitarian aid organization of The United Methodist Church.
“The strength of this consortium model is that it unites National VOAD partners and their diverse strengths into one partnership created to serve the people of Texas,” said Greg Forrester, president and CEO of National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. “Our member agencies have long histories of serving disaster-impacted communities in every phase of disaster from preparedness through recovery. This disaster case management effort will support and enhance all of the case management efforts already in place.”
“For years, part of National VOAD’s work has been to ‘find ways to do things better’ and this is most certainly in alignment with that principle,” said Zach Wolgemuth of the United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries and board chair. “We continue to evaluate leading practices and refine our strategic plan to meet emerging needs. Proper disaster case management is key to effective and efficient recovery efforts… this pilot project affords the opportunity to enhance the work of all the agencies and organizations engaged in providing recovery services to disaster survivors.”
“National VOAD member organizations are leaders in serving vulnerable populations, including low-income households, seniors, veterans, single-parent households, and households with languages other than English,” stated Forrester. “Because this consortium is a single program with multiple member organizations, each agency will have the ability to seek or provide support in each of the partners’ specialized areas of managerial responsibilities while still utilizing systematized financial and training systems for continuity of service delivery.”
“The opportunity to expand the usual approach for FEMA-funded disaster case management in Texas will allow both the state and the voluntary community to increase their capacity to continue to respond and support Texans as they recover from Hurricane Harvey,” continued Forrester. “Collaborating with the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas Health and Human Services vendors and FEMA illustrates how whole community resources can be leveraged effectively for survivors.”
“Project Comeback: Texas” will be implemented by National VOAD members through their local affiliates and partners and the direct providers will be organizations already connected to their communities. This will allow for better understanding of local relationships, resources and culture. It is also expected that these organizations will hire, collectively, over 400 people – the vast majority of which will be local hires, further contributing to the community’s economic recovery.
Many of the NVOAD consortium partners are already working in these areas and the availability of FEMA funding will allow them to expand their capacity to other areas of need and extend the length of time that they are able to provide disaster case management services to over 12,000 households in need of further support.
For the next phase of the project, National VOAD will be coordinating meetings with the state and federal government agencies operating in Texas and the five primary VOAD providers in order to begin the transfer of data and start the hiring processes. The project is anticipated to run for 24 months.
Article Courtesy: Ben Zinga

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