Red Cross Adds Resources to Gulf Coast
ORLANDO, Fla. (April 2, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire) -- The American Red Cross announced
today an extension of mental health assistance and other benefits to Hurricane Katrina and Rita
survivors living in the hardest-hit areas of Louisiana and Mississippi. These funds, initially set aside to
meet the post-disaster emerging needs of hurricane survivors, are being used to bolster existing
individual assistance through recovery case management and enhance emotional support initiatives.
More than two and a half years after landfall there are still tens of thousands of people living in travel
trailers and mobile homes, thousands of people are on waiting lists for case managers, and hundreds of
people call every week for emotional support services, said Russ Paulsen, executive director of the
Red Cross Hurricane Recovery Program (HRP). "We had set aside some of what was given to us for
needs that would emerge later in the recovery effort, but the reality is that in the hardest-hit areas,
peoples needs today are the same as they were months ago: emotional support, an expert navigator,
advocate and resources to rebuild a life".
Specifically, the Red Cross announced an additional 87 staff have been added in southern Louisiana
and south Mississippi to help those who still need to talk with experts in recovery planning and link to
community, state, and federal resources. That brings the total Red Cross staff dedicated to the
recovery effort in the two-state region to 147. Also, additional resources have been made available to
case managers whose clients are struggling on the road to recovery, and enrollment in the Red Cross
Emotional Support Program, which helps survivors offset costs of mental health or substance abuse
treatment, has been extended through the end of May.
"We were pleased to see FEMAs announcement last week extending their funding for case
management in some areas. Coupled with these additional resources we know more survivors will be
able to move toward a safe and sustainable living environment", said Kay Wilkins, CEO of the
Southeast Louisiana Red Cross Chapter.
While the Emotional Support Program is available to survivors now living nationwide,
survivors wishing to access additional Red Cross case management resources must currently
live within one of the hardest hit parishes and counties of southern Louisiana and south
Additionally, over the next few weeks the Red Cross HRP will announce grant recipients of $10 million
for Emotional Support for Recovery initiatives in the form of new Behavioral Health Grants. These
grants will go to community organizations and service providers in southern Louisiana and south
Mississippi that directly address the mental health needs of their community by increasing capacity to
help restore damaged infrastructure and aid in meeting the increased need of the mental health
Over the past 30 months more than 70,000 families have received recovery planning help from the Red
Cross and other nonprofit and faith-based groups active in the recovery, but several thousand remain
on waiting lists. 6,300 families have received nearly $60 million in Red Cross recovery funds to help
repair homes, get to a job, and obtain work-related supplies or job training. Other organizations active
in recovery have given many millions more in financial support. Yet thousands of people who were
underinsured or otherwise lack resources still need help, and more than 23,000 people of all ages have
enrolled in the Emotional Support Program, but several hundred more call every week as they struggle
with the burden of the slow recovery.
For more information on American Red Crosss entire response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma,
please visit http://www.redcross.org
Red Cross Emotional Support Program Ends
NEW ORLEANS (May 19, 2008) -- Survivors of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma who are still
suffering emotionally from the effects of the storms have extra time to get needed professional treatment.
The American Red Cross Hurricane Recovery Program (HRP) has announced it is extending the
enrollment deadline for their Emotional Support Program to May 31. The program allows hurricane
survivors in need to receive outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment from licensed
professionals, to help with needs which continue more than thirty months after the storms.
The Emotional Support Program is a continuation of services provided by the American Red Cross,
complementing the ongoing case management and community recovery efforts of the Red Cross and
other agencies, which have been concentrated in the Gulf Coast. Designed in consultation with mental
health experts and other agencies active in disaster recovery,
More than 21,000 hurricane survivors have signed up for the program. "The fact that survivors continue
to sign up is an indication that the assistance is still greatly needed," said Jacqueline Yannacci, Program
Manager for Behavioral Health Programs. "This program has been vitally important not only to the
survivors but to the mental health communities in Louisiana and Mississippi."
Survivors can enroll in the Emotional Support Program themselves either through the web at
http://www.a2care.org/ or by calling toll-free 1-866-794-HOPE. It focuses on reducing financial barriers
to mental health and substance abuse services. All hurricane survivors experiencing disaster related
emotional distress are eligible to enroll. The program allows survivors to choose their own provider.
Once enrolled, survivors have until November 14, 2008 to receive services.