BATON ROUGE, La (La. Dept. of Health News Release) The Louisiana Department of Health announced it has received a federal grant of more than $19.5 million to assist local communities throughout Louisiana that are still recovering from the devastating floods this past spring. This Disaster Case Management grant is from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, and is administered by the Louisiana Office of Community Development-Disaster Recovery Unit.
The grant will fund disaster case management activities in 36 Louisiana parishes that are eligible for assistance from FEMA. These parishes are: Allen, Ascension, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Caldwell, Catahoula, Claiborne, DeSoto, East Carroll, Franklin, Grant, Jackson, LaSalle, Lincoln, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Union, Vernon, Washington, Webster, West Carroll and Winn.
Disaster case management is a process where a qualified individual serves as a single point of contact for individuals or families who were impacted by the floods. This person helps households return to a state of independence. The case manager can help families identify their unmet needs and then make referrals to the appropriate agencies. This includes access to health care including mental health services, housing, home repairs, transportation and other essential services.
Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Department of Health, said the goal of disaster case management is to help individuals be self-sufficient as they recover from the flooding. “Our team will work with nonprofit agencies in the affected communities to promote this assistance, train the case managers and ensure that people are receiving the assistance they need to fully recover.”
“The state of Louisiana and its Department of Health proactively sought this grant to ensure the recovery that these families desperately need,” said FEMA Region 6 Administrator Tony Robinson.
According to Robinson, the grant includes measurable goals and timeframes to ensure the funds adequately helps eligible families. This includes a universal tracking system which allows the state to monitor the community-based agencies that receive this funding, as well as the recovery progress of the households.
It is estimated that 1,575 individuals or families in the 36 parishes will receive long-term assistance because of this grant that totals $19,507,210.81. The funding will be allocated among nonprofit organizations that will train and administer case managers. These include Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, Catholic Charities Diocese of Baton Rouge, Easter Seals Louisiana, Upbring Disaster Response, ICNA Relief USA, Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Volunteers of America North Louisiana.
“On behalf of all the nonprofits in the state of Louisiana that are providing Disaster Case Management to the thousands of households impacted by the major flooding in the spring of 2016, I want to thank FEMA and the state of Louisiana for providing this much-needed funding for Disaster Case Management,” said Elizabeth Disco-Shearer, COO, Society of St. Vincent de Paul - Disaster Services Division. “This grant will allow service providers like the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to help families navigate the long road to recovery.”
Flooding Disaster Background
In early March of this year, a storm system brought heavy thunderstorms from west to east across most of Louisiana. In addition to wind damage, record flooding occurred along the Bogue Falaya River in Covington and Bayou Dorcheat at Lake Bistineau. Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency for several parishes and sent the National Guard to help with water rescues. It is estimated that the storm caused damage to more than 12,000 homes, forced 13,000 evacuations and 2,780 rescues, damaged another 6,143 structures, and caused numerous road closures.