Role of Faith-Based and Community Organizations in Providing Relief and Recovery Services after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: Research Brief. Networks and Collaborations


Two-thirds of survey respondents worked with one or more groups to provide post-hurricane services. Nearly half reported that the collaborations were new, and another fifth were a combination of new and old relationships. Most collaborations involved sharing resources, such as space, equipment, and supplies. Being affiliated with a larger entity (such as a religious diocese or national association) did not increase the likelihood that an FBCO reported collaboration, though some national organizations did support their local affiliates, as the case studies found.

All the cases studied involved some level of inter-organizational collaboration; some were formal partnerships, and others were episodic or informal connections. Several also connected with local, state, or federal agencies. Understanding the people and resources of the local area seemed to be a major advantage, and social and professional connections more often than formal organizational affiliations assisted their relief efforts. These connections created access to restricted areas, rebuilding assistance, financial help, or professional expertise, and they permitted sharing of facilities or other resources.

The case studies suggested that many local and small FBCOs are not well connected to the disaster response system or to the larger social welfare system. Contacts with larger human service providers were more often through long-term recovery structures, fortuitous, or the result of doggedness of organization staff. Lack of connection and coordination limited access to an array of services to address transitional or permanent housing, family and legal problems created or exacerbated by the effects of the storm, the need for health and mental health services, and services for people with preexisting and new disabilities  services that were often limited before the storms.

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