Role of Faith-Based and Community Organizations in Providing Relief and Recovery Services After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Greater New Orleans Disaster Recovery Partnership, New Orleans, LA


The Greater New Orleans Disaster Recovery Partnership (GNODRP) was founded in November 2005 by leaders of United Way of Greater New Orleans Area member organizations to coordinate efforts, pool financial and material resources, stem duplicative efforts, and advocate for effective policies among eight long-term recovery structures in nine parishes of southeastern Louisiana.[15]

Key Features of Greater New Orleans Disaster Recovery Partnership
  • Using traditional disaster recovery structure for coordinated regional collaborative to respond to Hurricane Katrina and prepare for the next disaster.
  • A creation of lead social service providers in New Orleans and partnership among 90 partner agencies.
  • Support and oversight of eight parish long-term recovery structures.

The long-term recovery structures have been advocated by the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and now by FEMA, as the principal vehicle for assessing needs and allocating assistance after basic disaster relief has been exhausted. The structures generally involve roundtable meetings in which case managers present the cases of individuals with unmet needs to providers of social services and other assistance, and assistance is negotiated among grantors (e.g., Salvation Army, American Red Cross). GNODRP at this writing has approximately 90 partners from the nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, and faith-based communities that share resources, services, and information to address long-term recovery.

By early 2006, GNODRP had constituted a board of directors (the Partnership Council), and seven standing committees: advocacy, case management, donations management, emotional and spiritual care, preparedness, rebuilding, and volunteer coordination. The eight unmet needs structures of Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. Bernard, Orleans, Tangipahoa, Washington, St. Tammany parishes, and St. John the Baptist and St. Charles parishes (combined) are represented on the Partnership Council. Several national organizations, including the Coordinated Assistance Network (a shared database among seven national disaster relief organizations), Church World Service, FEMA, and Katrina Aid Today, are also heavily involved in the regions recovery efforts and have nonvoting membership on the council.

GNODRP created several mechanisms to facilitate more efficient processing of unmet needs cases. A November 2007 report by a George Washington University researcher found many remaining challenges, including cases tabled because of missing information, no guidance for case managers to obtain needed information, and social service systems still in disarray and unable to provide direct services and financial assistance. In response, GNODRP created a single presentation package for funders; as a result, the long-term recovery structures funded and closed as many cases in six months as they had in the two previous years. The standing committees continue to meet and streamline policies and practices.

In addition to helping develop the eight unmet needs structures, GNODRP created a warehouse for donated household goods and rebuilding materials. GNODRP leaders also recognized the frustrations felt by case managers who have their own traumas to cope with as a result of Hurricane Katrina and created access to spiritual and mental health counseling.

Most funding for unmet needs from the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army will end by 2009. GNODRP leaders are aware that recovery from Katrina is likely to take 10 to 20 years, and they are now concerned with developing resources to continue operation and sustain the momentum of the early recovery efforts, and have adjusted their model to respond to current needs. Holding the attention of policymakers and funders is increasingly challenging as other disasters occur and the public seeks to move on from Katrina.

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