Role of Faith-Based and Community Organizations in Providing Relief and Recovery Services After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Individuals Who Received Services

12/20/2008

Records were not always kept on the number or types of individuals served, but 90 percent of respondents provided an estimate of the individuals they helped (Table 12). Of those who did provide an estimate, about a quarter of the respondents (28 percent) served fewer than 50 individuals, while almost one in five (18 percent) reported that they served more than 1,000. The median number of individuals helped was 112. These numbers do not distinguish between individuals served once and those served multiple times.

Table 12.
Number of People Served
Characteristic N Percent of Organizations Serving # of People between: Median # of
people served
< 50 50100 101250 251500 5011,000 >1,000
All respondents 180 27.8 21.1 15.6 10.6 6.7 18.3 112
                 
Faith-based organization 106 24.5 21.7 17.0 8.5 8.5 19.8 134 
Secular nonprofit 74 32.4 20.3 13.5 13.5 4.1 16.2 93
                 
Louisiana  96 30.2 17.7 15.6 13.5 8.3 14.6 121 
Mississippi 72 26.4 26.4 13.9 6.9 4.2 22.2 60
Houston, TX 12 16.7 16.7 25.0 8.3 8.3 25.0 200
                 
Primary impact area  70 15.7 24.3 11.4 12.9 8.6 27.1 162 
Adjacent to impact area 70 37.1 17.1 17.1 10.0 7.1 11.4 88
Farthest from impact area 40 32.5 22.5 20.0 7.5 2.5 15.0 89
Source: Urban Institute 200708 Survey of FBCOs in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Houston.
Note: Data are missing for 22 respondents.

Along this continuum, faith-based organizations reported a higher median number of people served (134) than did secular nonprofits (93), perhaps reflecting the typical role of congregations to provide immediate relief services such as food, water, and temporary shelter compared with secular social service providers. Median numbers also declined away from the heavily impacted areas162 for the prime impact areas, 88 for secondary areas, and 89 for tertiary areas. FBCOs in Texas reported a very high median (200), but this is probably because of the concentrated response to the evacuees who were housed in the Astrodome.

Although most FBCOs could provide a rough estimate of the number of people served, about a third of the respondents could not give demographic information (Table 13). Based on those who responded, the most common types of recipients were low-income and families with children.[13] Half the organizations estimated that at least 75 percent of the people they served were low income, and half said that at least 50 percent of those served were families with children. Also, half the FBCOs that responded to questions on client demographics indicated that at least 20 percent of the service recipients were elderly. Likewise, half the FBCOs said that the majority of recipients (88 percent) came from outside the community in which the FBCO is located.

Table 13.
Types of People Served
Characteristic Median Percentage of Types of People Served
Elderly Low-income Families
with children
Immigrants Members of
the church
Usual
clients
People from
outside community
n=145 n=147 n=152 n=145 n=93 n=67 n=168
All respondents 20 75 50 0 0 15 88
               
Faith-based organization 25** 60** 50** 0 0 0 90
Secular nonprofit 10** 90** 70** 0 0 20 75
               
Louisiana 15 75 50 0 0 20 83
Mississippi 25 70 55 1 5 10 80
Houston, TX 25 95 73 0 0 1 100
               
Primary impact area 30 78 53 1 33** 65 25**
Adjacent to impact area 20 73 50 0 0** 13 97**
Farthest from impact area 10 75 68 0 0** 0 100**
Source: Urban Institute 200708 Survey of FBCOs in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Houston.
Note: Data are missing for 34 respondents.
* Difference significant at 0.05 level.
** Difference significant at 0.01 level.

Statistically significant differences were found between faith-based organizations and secular nonprofits in the median percentage of elderly, low-income, and families with children served. Secular nonprofits served a higher (median) percentage of low-income people than faith-based organizations (90 versus 60 percent, respectively), and families with children (70 versus 50 percent, respectively). On the other hand, faith-based groups reported higher median proportions of elderly served (25 percent) than did secular nonprofits (10 percent).

As might be expected, FBCOs in the primary impact areas reported that most of their service recipients were local people, whereas FBCOs in secondary and tertiary impact areas served mostly people from outside their communities. Other differences were either not statistically significant or based on a very small number of respondents.

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