Katrina Networking

I am using my networking and marketing skills to pass along vital information to organizations, volunteers and survivors of the 2005 hurricane season. Grants, networking, advocating, assistance resources, articles and more. Updated regularly to better assist you.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Grants Upgraded and Extended

Phase II Beginning
Details of Phase Two of Homeowner Assistance ProgramFrom: Office of the Governor Filed 11/20/06 GCN
Homeowners who did not qualify under the original multibillion-dollar grant program have another opportunity to apply for assistance to repair, rebuild or relocate under a second phase that has opened for public comment.
Phase Two of the Homeowner Assistance Program will provide funding up to a maximum of $50,000 for low to moderate income homeowners whose primary residence suffered flood surge damage from Hurricane Katrina. Such homeowners may qualify regardless of whether they were uninsured or under-insured and regardless of whether their homes were inside or outside the federally-delineated flood plain.
The original program covered about 15,000 families and the second phase opens new opportunities for assisting more people, Governor Haley Barbour said.
“We’ve been working with the federal government for months to develop this second phase in order to help as many as 10,000 more families,” Governor Barbour said.
Phase Two includes a special needs feature under which eligible applicants who are age 65 or over, or who are disabled, or who have household income at or below 60 percent of the Average Median Income can get up to an additional $25,000, or a total of $75,000.
Also, an additional grant of up to $30,000 is available to help eligible applicants defray the cost of elevating their homes, if necessary.
Generally, a qualifying homeowner must have a household income at or below 120 percent of the Average Median Income (AMI), or about $63,000 a year for a family of four.
As with the original program, anyone who receives a grant under Phase Two and is rebuilding will have to elevate their home out of the flood plain, build consistent to the International Building Code/International Residential Code, and carry flood insurance.
In addition, Phase Two grant recipients must agree to a covenant on their property that establishes building code, homeowner insurance, and elevation requirements for them or any future owner of the land; and agree to remain at that site for three years, or relocate elsewhere in George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson or Pearl River counties.
Like the initial phase, this second phase of the program will be funded from the $4 billion allocated through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The starting point for each individual grant calculation will be the cost to repair or rebuild the structure based on a damage assessment approved by the Mississippi Development Authority.
In addition to the homeowner grants through the first and second phases, Governor Barbour said the federal government has also allowed the state to allocate $100 million of the grant funds for restoration of public housing in the three coastal counties. The state is also working closely with HUD to fund more restoration of rental housing and other modifications to the original grants program.
Families that have already applied for the original phase of the program or already registered for follow-on programs do not have to re-register to be considered for Phase Two; however, homeowners who are uncertain are encouraged to go ahead and re-register. New applicants should call 1-866-369-6302 to schedule an application appointment.
This proposed modification – Number 4 Phase II – is open for public comment. Copies of the entire plan are available by written or telephone request from the Mississippi Development Authority call center (1-866-369-6302), or on the Internet at www.mississippi.org. The modification will be available in Vietnamese and Spanish translations at the same website.
Written comments regarding this proposed modification may be mailed to the Mississippi Development Authority, Post Office Box 849, Jackson, MS 39205 or sent via facsimile to (601) 359-9280. Comments may also be submitted online to hoacomments@mississippi.org. Comments must be received no later than December 8, 2006.
Barbour orders grants increased - On average, some will receive $15,000 more
PASCAGOULA - A majority of those who have received or will receive Hurricane Katrina homeowner grant checks will be getting more money than originally estimated, per Gov. Haley Barbour's orders.
About 85 percent of those who had been approved for grants and told an amount before Oct. 23 will receive more money, an average of $15,000 more. These homeowners don't have to wade through any more paperwork or meetings for this increase, officials said. The recalculations are being made automatically and will not further delay the process, they said. But $150,000 is still the maximum, and officials stressed that not everyone will receive an increase and that $15,000 is an average.
Apparently, kinks in the months-delayed grant program are being worked out after an angry Barbour, who is ultimately in charge of how it is run, ordered changes weeks ago. The program as of Thursday morning had doled out 3,162 checks, compared to the less than 200 that had been paid out just a few weeks ago.
Barbour had received much praise for using his Washington clout last year to help convince Congress and HUD to approve up to $5 billion for a Katrina homeowner bailout. No such help has ever been given after other natural disasters. But as the program dragged on months beyond when Barbour and others had estimated people would be receiving checks, that praise turned to criticism from homeowners desperately wanting to rebuild and leave their FEMA trailers. Others argued - and nearly 2,000 formally appealed - that the grant amounts for which they were approved were too low.
Barbour himself criticized the slowness, although he said federal red tape and problems with insurance and mortgage companies not providing information was causing much of the delay. Barbour ordered changes, such as allowing people to fill out affidavits to sidestep logjams when insurance companies or others won't provide info. He also told administrators to err on the side of the homeowners when calculating the grant amounts.
A top Barbour advisor and an official with the company hired to run the Katrina grant program toured the Coast on Wednesday and Thursday, meeting with government, nonprofit and community leaders, and the media.
"For this to work, all these people have to play nice: SBA, FEMA, HUD, MDA, the mortgage industry, the insurance industry, the title insurance industry, the governor's office, local chancery clerks and outside contractors," said Paul Raffensperger of the Maryland-based Reznick Group, hired by the Mississippi Development Authority to run the program.
As the homeowner grant program began to stumble and miss the optimistic deadlines that state officials had set for getting checks out to people, county supervisors said they were the ones who most often heard about it.
And in Jackson County, by far the county with the most homeowner grant applicants, supervisors' phones rang off the hook. People couldn't get information through the MDA hotline and didn't have anywhere else to turn.
Supervisors John McKay and Manly Barton at a meeting Thursday explained to Jim Perry, with the governor's staff, that it was frustrating because they didn't have answers either, but tried to act as liaisons for the people and at first had trouble getting through to MDA and the governor's office themselves.
Perry and Raffensperger explained one major change is the MDA centers that have reopened in each county are now real service centers with answers for the public and workers who can be advocates to help homeowners receive the most from the program.
Both McKay and Barton said the most bitter feedback they received were in cases where neighbors with similar homes and very similar damage received very different damage assessments from the inspectors for the grants.
Though Raffensperger blamed human error and a glitch in the formula used to calculate damage, he also said that some of it just couldn't be explained. But he pointed to the fact that the governor took care of that problem, allowing the grant program to go with the highest damage estimate a homeowner receives, be it SBA or grant inspectors.
McKay said it is obvious that the state is making improvements. The number of calls he's getting has dropped off, "but there's still some heartburn out there over what makes one house 11 percent damaged and another next door 90 percent.
"All in all it is turning out pretty good. The federal government gave us the money. The governor led the charge," he said.
State Democratic leaders have been making much political hay against Barbour over delays in grants and other problems.
Perry said he doesn't know whether the problems would hurt Barbour - who stands for re-election next year - politically on the Coast. But he said he doubts the governor cares.
"The governor and all the people working seven days a week on this are not motivated by politics in this. Their motivation is to help as many people as possible.
"I would be surprised if (Barbour suffers politically) by a program that is the first of its kind, that the governor proposed and successfully got funding for and has implemented, that means thousands of homeowners get assistance they normally wouldn't have gotten, and thousands more will be soon. I would be surprised, but even if it does, it was worth it," Perry said.
"We are not working toward the election right now. We are trying to help people recover."

Homeowner grants
Q: What's been taking so long? Why haven't I gotten a check?
A"We didn't anticipate initial, fierce opposition from the mortgage industry," said Jim Perry, Barbour's chief of policy. "We didn't anticipate that would drag things out by five months to begin with. We didn't anticipate that it would take several months to get reliable, usable data from SBA and we didn't anticipate that many of the 200 insurance companies we had to deal with would be unwilling to provide information. There's still no excuse, and nobody's been happy with the pace. But you have to consider we are still only six months out from when HUD approved the money.
Homeowner grants
Some answers to frequently asked questions about the Katrina homeowner grant program, which is federally funded but run by the Mississippi Development Authority and, ultimately, Gov. Haley Barbour:
Q: Have state leaders been dragging their feet on sending grant checks in order to collect interest on the billions in federal money?
A: No. The state is not collecting interest. The money is allocated on a "draw-down" basis. As checks are issued, HUD sends the money to the state.
Q: Have any homeowners been dragging their feet?
A: Apparently. Of the nearly 10,000 who have been sent "closing packets," only 6,000 have completed and returned them.
Q: I had an SBA loan, but I have received my full grant payment. Was this a mistake? Will I have to give the money to SBA later?
A"Go ahead and cash it," said Paul Raffensperger of the Reznick Group, the company hired to run the grants. He said SBA makes its own calculations about "duplication of services" and how much of the grant should be paid to it. If you receive a check, Raffensperger said, it's yours, although you will still have to live by whatever loan repayment agreement you have with SBA.
Q: I sold my home before I received a grant. Will I still get one?
A: Only if you can get the buyer to sign an agreement to meet stipulations that include rebuilding to international code and federal flood elevation rules and carrying federal flood insurance. Officials said there is no exception for this. Raffensperger said some of the new homebuyers are signing the agreements, but others have refused. He said some are "bartering," or trying to get money from the person they bought from before they'll sign.

Found On Gulf Coast News

From: Mississippi Development Authority Filed 6/28/06 GCN
As the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) continues its efforts to assist homeowners affected by Hurricane Katrina, the agency is working to develop and refine new programs while moving forward with the approval process for the Katrina Homeowner Assistance Grant Program.
To date, some 16,500 applications were received for the Katrina Homeowner Grant Program. Officials are currently completing title searches, damage assessments and other verifications for each application.
Because of discrepancies between insurance values and replacement costs for many properties, MDA is making a modification to increase insurance values used in calculating grant amounts by 35 percent. This increase will help compensate for the increased construction costs caused by the enormity of the disaster. All the other core elements of the program are unchanged.
Second Chance For Katrina Grants
With the new grant amounts, MDA will be accepting new appointments from homeowners who did not previously apply for the Katrina Homeowner Grant because of previous award limits. To make an appointment for the original Katrina Homeowner Grant program, call 866.369.6302. Please note that Katrina Grants do not impact federal or state benefits being paid, such as veteran’s benefits or disability payments. MDA urges all eligible citizens to apply.
Fund Disbursement
Fund disbursement for the Katrina Homeowner Grant program is being delayed due to a public comment from The Mortgage Bankers Association, the Consumer Mortgage Coalition and the Housing Policy Council regarding the program’s Environmental Assessment study. In their comment, these organizations challenge the adequacy of the MDA’s environmental analysis.
To resolve the issue, MDA has submitted a response to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) outlining the reasons the mortgage industry’s comments should be discounted. Assuming no further objection or legal action from the mortgage industry, MDA plans to initiate grant payments in July.
Other MDA Programs
The agency is finalizing details of the Public Housing Assistance Program, which will provide $100 million to the Mississippi Gulf Coast Housing Authorities in Jackson, Hancock and Harrison Counties that suffered damage. Draft action plans for the Ratepayer and Wind Pool Mitigation and the Gulf Coast Regional Infrastructure Programs have also been released for public comment and are available for review at http://www.mississippi.org/ .
MDA is asking all low to moderate-income homeowners whose homes flooded due to storm surge to register with the agency for future assistance programs. MDA will use this information to help develop and distribute additional assistance programs.
Mississippi Development Authority is airing a television appeal from Governor Barbour asking these citizens to register. So far, MDA has scheduled about 3,500 registration appointments.
To make an appointment to register, please call 866-369-6302.
Any low to moderate income homeowners who previously applied for a Katrina Homeowner Grant will be automatically registered for any relevant new programs. There is no need to apply again.
For more information about the above programs, visit http://www.mshomehelp.gov/ or http://www.mississippi.org/ or call 1.866.369.6302. Mississippi Development Authority · P.O. Box 849 · Jackson, MS 39205-0849 · http://www.mississippi.org/ · (601) 359-3449

Emotional Trauma of Katrina

3/1 Depression and anxiety quadruple on the Coast
By Bennie Shallbetter Feb 28, 2007, 09:22 (whole article)
Now people are faced with the daunting task of recreating not just their own lives, but the life of their entire community from the ground up. According to "After Katrina: Creativity's Role in Trauma and Growth" from the Creative Education Foundation – a non-profit membership organization of leaders in the field of creativity theory and practice – this monumental task can produce different needs such as the need to find meaning, to connect with others, to examine one's identity, to imagine what could be, to create real things, and to cope with loss and grief. Thriving and not just surviving in one's post-hurricane life is a challenge to the imagination, says the article.

2/2 Mental Strain Weighing On Katrina's Kids
(CBS) On the outskirts of Baton Rouge, La., nearly 800 FEMA trailers packedwith families stretch into the distance, CBS News chief investigativecorrespondent Armen Keteyian reports. It's a mud-soaked outpost where 17 long months after Hurricane Katrina, 2,000 lives feel very much like they've reached the end of the road.
A new, in-depth study obtained exclusively by CBS News illustrates the real mental health strain of living long-term in what some have called a permanent state of limbo. The most startling finding: the devastating impact on children.
The study, done by Columbia University and the Children's Health Fund, found as many as 10,000 displaced children across the Gulf are now suffering from clinically diagnosed depression - a 400 percent increase from before the storm. "The loss of hope is a very powerful factor here," says Dr. Irwin Redlener, who supervised the study. "What we have is starkness - grim, uncomfortable overcrowded camps basically - and that's really hurting these kids."
Latoya Watts, a mother of three of those kids in a sad, muddy camp, says she's been there since March. Her 200-square-foot trailer is home to her family of four. Without a car, she can't find work. She has been keeping herc hildren warm this winter with a hairdryer.
"I'm tired of living like a charity case," Watts says.
"Kids who get very, very angry and out of control and other kids who get incredibly quiet. All sorts of signs that these kids are dealing with thingsthey can't really understand and cope with," Redlener explains.
FEMA's Gil Jamieson talks with Armen Keteyian about what's being done to help people still living in trailers.
"We've got families living with children," says Gill Jamieson of FEMA."We've done all that we can do to move those people into a permanent housing alternative as quickly as we can."
While Jamieson agrees there is a great deal of hopelessness, he adds that, "you need to look at that against the context of what we have accomplished."
FEMA has found emergency housing for more than 80 percent of those displacedby the hurricane. But that's little comfort to the residents still stuck in this trailer camp, ironically named "Renaissance Village."

1/26 Discussion of Emergency Housing's Effects on Children

12/3 Katrina and Children Easing Children's Fears
From: FEMA Filed 12/1/06 GCN
BILOXI, Miss. – The psychological effects of Hurricane Katrina fell with particular force on one group of victims—children. The American Academy of Pediatrics has warned that children have a special vulnerability to disaster situations, making it urgent for adults to prepare them for such shocks in advance.
“Fear is rooted mostly in lack of information and children are less informed than adults,” said Kris Jones, disaster mental health director for the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. “There is little doubt that a disaster such as Katrina will impact children harder than its physical effects might suggest.”
“Preparation is the key,” Jones continued, referring to the difference that parents and teachers can make in children’s fears. “Children who have been prepared for a disaster are much more likely to understand what is happening – and the more they understand, the less likely they are to panic.”
This advice should not be overlooked as the 2006 hurricane season reaches its official endpoint this week. Many government- and faith-based programs have helped children and their families to recover from the stress of Hurricane Katrina, but opportunities remain, both at home and in the classroom, to teach what to expect in a disaster and how to prepare for one.
“Children, too, are our partners in maintaining readiness,” said Nick Russo, federal coordinating officer for Mississippi recovery. “Readiness for future disaster challenges should always go hand in hand with recovery.”
“When disaster strikes, the whole family is affected,” said Mike Womack, interim director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. “Preparation before a disaster helps families in the recovery process. Involving children in pulling together a family disaster supply kit and talking openly with them about what you’re doing and why helps ready them for coping with a future event.”
To address this need, a kid-friendly Internet site, “FEMA for Kids,” is available to children and parents at www.fema.gov. The site is easy enough – and safe enough – to be navigated by children working alone or in a classroom exercise. Geared to third through sixth graders, and with some activities for younger children, it combines colorful graphics, games, quizzes, prizes, original storybooks, sound and high-impact design to help young users absorb as much information as possible. Links to external sites are kept to a minimum.
Highlights include “The Disaster Area,” teaching the crucial steps that children can take in each type of disaster situation. Another feature, “Get Ready, Get Set,” covers such subjects as how to put together a supply kit, making a family disaster plan and some counseling insight: “How you might feel in a disaster.” Parents and teachers will find lesson plans, curriculum tips, classroom activities and links to other Internet resources.
A second Web site on preparedness, http://www.ready.gov/, also reaches out to children. More focused on national security emergencies than on natural disasters, this site offers a “Ready Kids” link to an entertaining children’s section, with games, puzzles and downloadable coloring pages as in “FEMA for Kids.”
“These Web sites are designed to be fun while being useful,” Russo said. “We understand that disasters are especially hard on kids, and we want them to be informed so they can feel safer.”
The information at both Web sites is free

The alternative number for those in crisis is 1-800-273-TALK. This number will put callers in touch with the federally funded National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a service that has been in operation since January, 2005

8/16 - Stress building in New Orleans
Hurricane Katrina anniversary could spark more problems
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) --
Like many other New Orleanians nearly a year after Hurricane Katrina, John McCusker was experiencing the overwhelming stress of rebuilding his life.
McCusker, a photographer who was part of The Times-Picayune's 2006 Pulitzer Prize-winning staff, was seen driving wildly through the city one day last week, attracting the attention of police.
He eventually was arrested, but not before he was subdued with a Taser and an officer fired twice at his vehicle. During the melee, he begged police to kill him. One officer suffered minor injuries.
James Arey, commander of the police department's SWAT negotiating team, said he can understand why McCusker seemingly snapped.
"There are all these things you're trying to deal with in your own life -- not enough insurance, family problems, your health problems," said Arey, who already knew McCusker. "And then day in and day out, we get to see the wreckage of our city and people's lives. It's not easy to handle."
Stress is keeping law enforcement officers in New Orleans and neighboring Jefferson Parish busy these days, as they answer many more calls than before the storm for domestic abuse, drunkenness and fights. Involuntary commitments to mental hospitals are up from last year, and suicides in Orleans Parish have tripled since Katrina.
What's more, psychologists say the city's mental health environment is likely to get worse as the anniversary of the Aug. 29 storm approaches, sparking post-traumatic trauma in those who suffered losses.
McCusker remained in the city during the storm and continued to document the unprecedented destruction -- except for a leave of absence this summer -- while dealing with the loss of his house and other personal problems.
Last week, it seems, the pressure of post-Katrina life finally got to him.
McCusker, a Times-Picayune photographer for about 20 years, is no longer jailed. He has been transferred to an inpatient facility and is undergoing treatment, his attorney, Laurie A. White, said Tuesday.
"He's a great guy, a great photographer and we're all pulling for him," said newspaper managing editor Peter Kovacs.
McCusker is mentioned in a feature on the city's travails in the current issue of American Journalism Review, saying he went back to work June 20 after a monthlong leave.
During the leave, the article says, McCusker spent much of his time sleeping off exhaustion and attending therapy sessions three times a week. He told the magazine he'd essentially become nonfunctional.
"You have to understand the depth of the horror that the city was," McCusker says in the article. "Tens of thousands of people on the freeways stranded. The children begging for food and water. The looting at the Wal-Mart. It was of biblical proportions."
This marks an especially dangerous time for residents in areas still largely destroyed by Katrina, said Dr. Jessica Henderson Daniel, director of training and psychology at Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
Daniel, in New Orleans for a convention of the American Psychological Association, said the storm's anniversary will spark new feelings of loss and more emotional and physical stress.
"Sometimes the initial feelings of loss re-emerge, and sometimes they re-emerge with even greater strength than they had originally, Daniel said.
A key to survival, Daniel says, is to have a strategy to cope with the feelings.
"It's important for people to anticipate a reaction and know that it's normal and they're not alone in their feelings," she said.
Suicide rates in New Orleans have nearly tripled in the 11 months since the storm. Experts blame an epidemic of depression and post-traumatic stress that crosses all socio-economic lines.
Dr. Jeffrey Rouse, the deputy New Orleans coroner who handles psychiatric cases, estimates the annual suicide rate was less than nine per 100,000 residents before the storm. It's since increased to more than 26 per 100,000, he said.
Along with the general stress, there are more people with chronic mental illness not getting medication in the area now, Arey said. There's also far less professional help for them.
The city's crisis-intervention unit at Charity Hospital -- the primary center for such emergency treatment before the storm -- has been closed since Katrina. That limits the options for police after they pick up someone in need of psychological help.
"There's almost no psychiatric services in Orleans Parish now," Arey said.

Found on the Project Disaster website

New Orleans, Post-Katrina: The Trauma Continues
Post Katrina posted by Paul @ 7:02 am
1) New Orleans is experiencing what appears to be a near epidemic of depression and post-traumatic stress disorders.
2) The suicide rate is close to triple what it was before Hurricane Katrina struck. 9 suicides/100,000/year before Katrina to 26 suicides/100,000/year (extrapolated from the last 4 months in 2005 after Katrina).
3) The local mental health system has suffered a near total collapse.
4) One police unit has to handle 150 to 180 psychological distress calls a month.
5) The crime rate has soared. Now, the National Guard and the state police were back in the city, patrolling streets that the Police Department has admitted it cannot handle on its own.
6) The state estimates that the city has lost more than half its psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists and other mental health workers.
7) According to the Louisiana Hospital Association, there are little more than 60 hospital beds for psychiatric patients in the seven hospitals that remain open here.
Source: NY Times, 6/20/06

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Aspen Institute Assessment of FEMA

Need For FEMA and Red Cross to Coordinate More Effectively with Local and Faith-Based Organizations Identified

New Report Highlights Role of Grassroots Nonprofits in Disaster Relief
Washington, DC, June 19, 2006

"National responder groups were overwhelmed by the monumental task of providing relief to hundreds ofthousands of Hurricane Katrina victims, shifting a large burden onto small relief agencies. However, these local groups received limited support and coordination from FEMA and the American Red Cross,according to a report by Tony Pipa, Weathering the Storm: the Role of Local Nonprofits in the Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort, commissioned by the Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Program (NSPP) of the AspenInstitute.

"Hundreds of churches and soup kitchens stepped in to fill the service gap created by such a huge catastrophe," said Aspen InstitutePresident and CEO Walter Isaacson, who also serves as vice-chairman of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. "In planning for future disasters we must find a way to better integrate all nonprofits into the response and ensure that they have the resources necessary to serve their communities."

To address the problems related to real-time coordination between nonprofits and local, state, and federal government agencies, the report recommends the formation of a high-level coordinating body that would assist in defining roles and resolving coordination issues."Hurricane Katrina showed that there is no central disaster planning and coordination entity that connects the local to the national," saidAlan Abramson, Director of the Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Program of the Aspen Institute. "The coordinating system recommended in this report could provide that link."

Tony Pipa, author of Weathering the Storm: the Role of Local Nonprofits in the Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort, is the former executive director of the Warner Foundation and a former executive onloan at the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation. Mr. Pipa spent several months interviewing government, nonprofit, and foundation leaders about their experiences during the period immediately following Hurricane Katrina.

From author Pipa's conversations emerges a picture of a disaster response that was overwhelmed by the size of Katrina. With more than one million people left homeless, shelters sprouted up across the Gulf Coast, often under the auspices of a church or human service provider. But neither the tremendous outpouring of charitable support nor the supplies of the federal government filtered down to these organizations, leaving them vulnerable to closing or reductions inservices.

"With a disaster of this scale, every nonprofit becomes a disaster responder," said Melissa Flournoy, President and CEO of the LouisianaAssociation of Nonprofit Organizations. "It's the smaller organizations that are so vital but that also need the most help."

One bright spot was the participation of experienced internationalrelief organizations such as Oxfam America and Mercy Corps, which successfully applied many of their standard methods. Working in partnership with local intermediary organizations, they channeled funds and resources quickly to local agencies.

Drawing on these experiences, Mr. Pipa developed recommendations for improving the disaster response of both government and nonprofits.

Among them are:
* The creation of a high-level coordinating body that is inclusive of a wider range of private agencies that might respond to a catastrophe.
* The creation of a special Congressional designation - to be used during exceptional crises only " that, once invoked, mandates the American Red Cross to contribute five percent of its overall fundraising for that disaster to locally-based agencies.
* More flexibility by both FEMA and private foundations in their reimbursement and grantmaking policies to help funds get to organizations faster and allow them to be used for general operating expenses.

The Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Program (NSPP) was establishedin 1991 to increase understanding of the nonprofit sector and philanthropy. Since its founding, NSPP has awarded a total of $10 million to support over 400 research projects on a broad range of nonprofit topics.

Tony Pipa is the former executive director of the Warner Foundation, a private foundation in North Carolina focused on improving economic opportunity and race relations, and has also served as director of philanthropic services at the Triangle Community Foundation in Research Triangle Park, NC, and executive director of Mt. Diablo Habitat for Humanity in Walnut Creek, CA. He earned an MPA fromHarvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

A free, downloadable copy of Weathering the Storm: the Role of Local Nonprofits in the Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort is available at www.nonprofitresearch.org/katrina . For more information on this publication, contact Winnifred Levy at 202-736-5814 or winnifred.levy@aspeninst.org.

The Aspen Institute, founded in 1950, is an international nonprofit dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences, and leadership development initiatives, the Institute and its international partners seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values. The Institute is headquartered inWashington, DC, and has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Its international network includes partner Aspen Institutes in Berlin, Rome, Lyon, Tokyo, and New Delhi, and leadership programs in Africa and Central America.

###Rachel Mosher-Williams, Project Director
Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Program
The Aspen Institute
One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Citizen Action Team


3/9 Update
It's time to UPDATE your NEEDS and AVAILABILITIES list. If you need help please call Terra, Laura or Dayle. See contact information below.

The CAT Team is now also working with the Tornado disasters in GA and AL. Several national relief groups are now using the database to list their needs and availabilities: http://dbase.citizenactionteam.org/conditions/list/GA?show_regional=0

You might notice that Facilities/Organizations sometimes comes up already filtered to GA (without regional facilities). We did that to make things easier for those who are not familiar with using the database. To get everything, simply change GA to "All".

NOTE: In response to the tornados groups all over the country are gathering again. If you would like for your facility to be in line for any excess items, now would be a good time to UPDATE your NEEDS/AVAILABILITIES. BTW, if you are gathering, PLEASE do NOT gather clothing. They have more than they can use already!

We have added a new Category called "Affiliations". Take a look--Click on Categories in the headings at the top left of database page. Click "Show" next to Affiliations. Click on one of the networks (for example Baptist Church) and you will get a list of organizations affiliated with the Baptist Churches. Cool huh? Thanks Terra!

If your organization is affiliated with a network and it doesn't show up that way, simply add the affiliation to your Availabilities List with the Quick Availability Creator.

Misha with Emergency Communities in NOLA is getting in a load of frozen chickens next week and is willing to share with other groups in LA and MS who are feeding large groups of residents and/or volunteers. If you are interested contact him at mbyruck@emergencycommunities.org. As per instructions from the donor, the chickens are for large groups only, NOT individuals.

In general, if you ship items to a facility, please let one of us know so that we can enter those items in the receiving facility's AVAILABILITIES.
3/1 - From Terra
See email from a fan,
Hi, I'm Mike. Cripes Terra, this is amazing. I spent nine months post Katrina/Rita, mostly in Plaquemines Parish, LA, working with community members and non-profits. I am trying to get back, probably in a voluntary agency liaison role, or some other recovery coordination activity. This site is a wonderful resource, and very empowering to those who have so little. I will share this with ministries and others I know who will appreciate your work.

Any issues, or plans for change or development for the site or resources?

Thanks for the support!

Yes, we have great plans! We've seen a slowdown in number of relief sites using the site, primiarily because there are so many relief sites closing down. We feel that this is
a very good thing as the folks in the gulf get "back to business". That being said, the site has
been such an incredible success, there are still major relief orgs trading supplies via the site.
We just saw a series of folks share 900 mattresses that came into one location. That location needed like 50 and the database helped the site spread the wealth. We see computers, and cleaning supplies, all kinds of stuff get distributed to relief sites via the dbase.
We've had a few months of "rest" now, in terms of development, and the IT team is gearing up
to create a series of tools for disaster and humanitarian relief. To start, we want to make
it possible for relief groups to be able to to sort/present the database data on their own websites.
That way, they can make their own "presentations" for their own audiences that suit their
audiences. We don't really want to be the end all everything all to everyone. We are just
humble tool creators. We built the thing for the warehouse network. But lots of other user
groups started to use the tool...medical clinics, volunteer camps, etc etc. So we've, by default,
become the central data collection point. Now it's time to figure out how to let everyone use
the data without having to come to our site and sort through a fancy database. Hopefully,
before long, we'll have something for you to test!
So sign in and register so that you're on our list for database administrative mailings...

Go directly there by using this URL: http://dbase.reliefdatabase.org
Choose "log in" from the upper right. Follow the instructions. Make sure to validate your log
in process by following the link that's sent to your email box. Let me know if you have any
While the techs were developing the new software (to be cutover soon), we built beginner instructions and stuffed them into a "facility record". If you want to see these, go to:
And scroll down till you see something worth reading!
Register your new site, even if you don't know much about the site...Or register yourself
as a "facility" (private citizen volunteer, info/hotline) so that we can find you!
Thank you again, for your kind words! We aim to please!
Terra Friedrichs
Citizen Action Team

2/22 Update From Terra
I just trained the FEMA volunteer agency liason...she was amazed that she didn't know about it sooner.
I told the LTRC lady in Hancock County that I could train people that she knows...and she said, "oh goodness...everyone I know already uses it!"

2/7 News Article!

NOTE: The US government is hitting the database all of a sudden. We've been making calls to the White House to tell them that we're organizing a grassroots effort to identify specific needs for specific locations. The ladies at the White House call center were very excited to hear about what we're doing with the CAT database.
That first day, the number of hits from government servers jumped. We got 70 hits that one day. Previously, the number of government hits/day were like 0-30, on a rare occasion 50. The % of government hits was in the 1% to 5% range. Every day since talking to the White House that first time, the number of government hits has gone up 30-50%. Yesterday, the government servers accounted for the LARGEST NUMBER OF HITS from a "single user type".
We believe that this is a message. We believe that someone is finally watching in Washington. MAKE SURE YOUR RECORD IS UPDATED. Spread the word that Washington is finally looking at the dbase. And make sure your QUANTITIES are marked on your needs list, so they can see the numbers by region.
Contact us at www.reliefdatabase.org, if you need help entering quantities, or want to learn how to use/navigate the dbase better...Yay team!

From Citizen Action Team - who is working with Kinkos!:
Leslie Teltoe: 818 360-2518 5-9 pm (west coast hours) M-Fri & weekends
grassrootsrebel@yahoo.com anytime.

We are working on an experiment to distribute used office equipment from a large corporate donor to humanitarian groups. Copiers, faxes, computers, servers, all kindsa stuff.

Let us know who you are, where you are, and a little about your organization.
When/if equipment becomes available in your area, we will let you know.

The process goes like this.
1. You get on our list.
2. When/if equipment becomes available in your area, we let you know.
3. If you want the equipment and you say, "YES, we want this item".
4. We ask for it formally.
5. We either get the equipment "assigned" to us or not.
6. If the equipment is "assigned" to you, then a call is placed letting the site know that you are coming.
7. You pick it up
8. You let us know when you've gotten it.
That's it! Free equipment!

BUT....we must follow the rules to make this experiment work and for us to get more free stuff, from corporations for humanitarian organisations.

RULES: If the equipment gets assigned to you, then you MUST be able to pick it up within one week of it being ASSIGNED to you.
If you can't pick it up or you don't have someone that can act as your alternate to pick up the equipment, then don't ASK for it.
Obviously, there are problems and there might be a time that you can't pick it up.
But if we want this experiment to work, then we want the number of times that we fail to be nearly zero.
If we want the experiment to work, we need to have things go smoothly. We need to show the corporate donors that we, as grassroots relief workers can follow rules.
So, if there is any doubt about whether you can pick up the equipment, please do not ask for it. Simple as that.

In Service,
The Citizen Action Team/Relief Database Team
Terra Friederichs/Leslie Teltoe/Dayle Nugent

Leslie: 818 360-2518 5-9 pm M-Fri & weekends
We are working on an experiment to distribute used office equipment from a large corporate donor to humanitarian groups. Copiers, faxes, computers, servers, all kindsa stuff.
Let us know who you are, where you are, and a little about your organization.When/if equipment becomes available in your area, we will let you know.
The process goes like this.1. You get on our list.2. When/if equipment becomes available in your area, we let you know.3. If you want the equipment and you say, "YES, we want this item".4. We ask for it formally.5. We either get the equipment "assigned" to us or not.6. If the equipment is "assigned" to you, then a call is placed letting the site know that you are coming.7. You pick it up8. You let us know when you' equipment!

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Resource Blog


She wrote the following in May and will be sending me an update in a few weeks:

Dear Friends,
It has been eight months since Hurricane Katrina destroyed communities on the Gulf Coast, and yet, we know the disaster continues for many of our fellow citizens in this region.
The archives of the Hurricane Katrina Direct Relief blog will remain online as a resource for folks who wish to assist these communities with supplies and on-site volunteers.
With the 2006 hurricane season less than two weeks away, we will be renewing this blog with more information.

Preparing For A Disaster

Disasters can be as small as a single person or as large as an entire nation. A disaster can be a house fire, a wildfire, a tornado, a hurricane, an earthquake, a pandemic or a terrorist action.

How you prepare is the same regardless of the size or type of disaster. There are several publications out by countless organizations to deal with disaster preparedness.

I am going to supply the links, and let you decide which one makes the most sense for you. If you happen to have a source for preparation, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list!

1/25 Animal Disaster Response Training
The below was provided by HSUS/Jay Sabatucci (thanks, Jay). Many grassroots animal advocates traveled to LA to help the stranded animals, when no one else would. Glad to see FEMA finally stepping up to the plate,in even this small way.To see the free FEMA courses that you can take over the internet, go to

First, Personal Preparation
There are a couple of links
I like The Red File – it is well written, concise and has tons of common sense.
Citizen Corp has many links to publications to assist you in every aspect, from preparing, preventing and recovering. Very good! http://www.citizencorps.gov/ready/cc_pubs.shtm
2/2 From the Agency On Aging - for elderly and caregivers
1/19 From Dane: Hurricane Safety Organization
6/27 Just found this on the Weather Channel's site:
Protecting Your Pets
http://www.weather.com/newscenter/topstories/040804hurricanepets.html?from=hp_promo 8/13

http://www.fas.org/reallyready/index.html Created by the Federation of American Scientists due to their alarm over the poor quality of the Govt.s site

11/5 - Found through Katrina's Angels - Next of Kin Education Program - Making your family safer in 15 minutes or less. http://www.nokep.org/fmp.htm

Emotional Preparation
North Carolina has done a great job compiling links and publications to assist folks with the emotional aspect of any disaster.
Child Advocate has come out with a small booklet for children and I have found this to be the best out there: http://childadvocate.net/disasterbooklet.pdf
A book entitled Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD. While this book deals with coping with disaster after the fact, reading it before it happens will give you a great weapon on coping before during and after such a serious event.

Financial Preparation
The best I have found in handling this particular aspect is from an organization called Operation Hope. It’s detailed, calls for several lifestyle adjustments in order to put their plan into place, BUT it will work! They have what they call an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) that you can download for free:
http://www.operationhope.org/fileupload/File/effak_english.pdf - This is 28 pages. And a Personal Disaster Preparedness Guide
http://www.operationhope.org/fileupload/File/pdpg_english.pdf - 18 pages.

Finally, Professional/Business Preparation
The Hancock County Chamber of Commerce gave this to me. I’ve not found it in any files or websites I’ve come across and it’s simple, common sense stuff that is so easy to overlook. I have left this information at the top of their page:

I feel these links do the best job of covering all aspects of preparing for a disaster. Please let me know if there are others you find that you feel are better or more concise, etc. I’m more than willing to add to the list!

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Modest Needs Organization


2/8 Excerpt from Long Note!
One last note: today, by popular demand, I've posted a Blog entry that I think many of you will find especially meaningful. It's the reintroduction of our most popular column – "Profiles in Courageous Generosity." I hope you'll take just a moment to read it because this is one you really don't want to miss, particularly if you like to hear about the sacrifice of the everyday hero. It's online and available for you now at http://modestneeds.typepad.com.

Good morning, everyone!If you follow the Modest Needs blog (at http://modestneeds.typepad.com/), then you know that in Tuesday's post, I promised several electrifying announcements throughout December 2006. I'm thrilled to share the first of these announcements with you today – and it's a big one. Earlier this week, I received word that the 'matching grant' which has been doubling the value of your recurring donations to Modest Needs throughout 2006 has officially been renewed for 2007!
The terms of next year's matching grant challenge are equally exciting. Initially, the grant has been renewed for the same amount as this year's grant. It will match all recurring donations (e.g. automatic pledges) made by individual donors to Modest Needs, each time the pledge actually is paid, up to a preliminary maximum of $300,000.00 in 2007.
In other words, if you're currently pledging $1.00 a day ($30.00 a month) to Modest Needs, then that pledge will continue to be worth $60.00 a month throughout 2007 until we've claimed the entire initial value of the matching grant.
This alone is obviously fantastic news. But next year, there's an added incentive for us - and this is where things get really exciting:
If, with your help, Modest Needs grows to the point that we can claim the entire initial value of the match ($300,000.00) by the end of July 2007, the maximum value of the grant will substantially increase for the remainder of the year.
Honestly, I don't have a figure yet as to how much the value of our matching grant will increase if we meet this interim goal because this will be determined by several factors we can't predict right now – including how quickly we're able to claim the entire initial value of the matching grant itself.
However, knowing the folks who operate the private foundation that is providing this matching grant as I now do (I've been working closely with them for over a year), my 'educated guess' is this: If we meet this preliminary challenge and claim the entire $300,000.00 by 31 July 2007, the value of the matching grant probably would increase to at least half a million dollars. But one thing I know for certain: the earlier we claim the entire initial value of the grant, the larger the new value of the matching grant becomes.
Best of all, this goal of claiming the entire initial value of this matching grant in seven months is well within our reach. All it's going to take it a little bit of teamwork – and that's one area where the Modest Needs community especially excels.
So please, look for Modest Needs' annual appeal next week either by email or post – and please accept in advance my personal thanks for taking just a moment to read it.
Remember, this is just the first of several similar announcements I'll have for you this month, but in the meantime, I'm always excited to hear your thoughts. You can reach me directly either by replying to this note, or by sending mail to mailto:drkeith%40modestneeds.org. I truly value your comments, and I do my best to respond to each letter I receive personally.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read this very exciting update. Take care, and be well!
All best,Dr. Keith P. Taylor
Good morning, everyone!Before anything else, I want to thank the many hundreds of you who've written in since Saturday with kind words about our Today Show appearance last week. I have to tell you, the response we've seen since Saturday has just been phenomenal for reasons I would never have guessed – but more on that in a second.
For those of you who missed the segment and didn't mean to, I wanted to let you know that the entire Today Show piece on human kindness and 'paying it forward' is now available for you on the Modest Needs website, at http://www.modestneeds.org/explore/media I've 'You-Tubed' what turned out to be a terrific segment, so there's no downloading required – it's 'instant on' for everyone. I know you'll really enjoy it, but please don't go just yet. I have some unexpected but fantastic news to share – and that unexpected news is actually the reason for this short, impromptu update.
For some time now, we've been working with The Oregonian – the largest daily paper in the Northwest – to complete what we thought was going to be a small story on the work all of us do together at Modest Needs. As it turns out, that story ran on Saturday, 18 November – the same day that we did The Today Show. But it wasn't such a 'small story' after all. To our surprise, it turned out to be a feature. And it is, quite literally, the best piece of writing about Modest Needs since our original USA TODAY story some four years ago.
The response from people in Oregon since the publication of this story, 'Small Change: Big Difference' on Saturday has just been overwhelming. The story is so powerful that, in the space of 48 hours, Oregon has become the state with the second-largest contingent of people supporting Modest Needs (previously, Oregon was something like number 42 out of 50!)
Many of you who support Modest Needs have been asking for a solid published piece about this work that you could share with friends, family and co-workers. I'm telling you, this is the story you've been waiting for. Please take a moment to read this remarkable article – and, if you feel so inclined – to share it with persons you think might like to read it. The direct link to the article is:
I'll have more news to share with you after the Thanksgiving Holiday, including a new 'Profile in Courageous Generosity' that's really going to start the holiday season off with a 'bang' at Modest Needs. But in the meantime, as we all pause to count our blessings, I want to tell each and every one of you how thankful I am to know and work with you to change the world, one family at a time. Even though I don't hear from most of you every day (or even occasionally), the Modest Needs Community has become my second family. I simply couldn't ask for a better blessing than that.Until next time, here's wishing you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.
Take care, travel safely, and be well. I look forward to hearing from some of you soon.

I'm thrilled to report that, after a four year hiatus from live television, I've been invited to reappear on The Today Show. The segment in which Modest Needs is involved will air on NBC this Saturday, November 18 in the 8:00-9:00am hour in your time zone. And this is going to be a really terrific segment if I do say so myself. Let me give you just a quick sneak preview.

Recently, The Today Show began conducting a series of experiments designed to answer a very complex question: In a world that is sometimes less kind than we'd all like for it to be, what is it that motivates people to show kindness to one another?

I can't tell you much about the experiments that The Today Show conducted without giving the whole segment away. What I can tell you is that they provide a fascinating look at the psychology behind human kindness. I've been asked to return to The Today Show to discuss the results of those experiments based on my experience as someone who daily observes through Modest Needs the altruism that so many of you demonstrate through your ongoing support of this very important work.

Believe me when I tell you that this is going to be an eye-opening look at what motivates people to reach out to one another- and why, sometimes, people elect not to reach out, even when they could. I'm truly honored to have been asked to return to The Today Show to participate in this study, and I know you'll really enjoy the segment itself. From what I've seen and heard of it already, it really is a magnificent piece of work.

And as if all of this isn't enough, you'll get to see me 'sweat it out' on live national television (a nerve-wracking experience, even at its best) with either Campbell Brown or Lester Holt (I don't yet know who I'll be speaking with.) – and in a suit yet! This will be, by the way, the only chance you will ever have to see me in a suit – at least, if I can help it.

In all seriousness, I consider it a great honor to be able to serve you as the public face of the human kindness and generosity that are the cornerstone of our work together at Modest Needs. Let's hope that I do a good job and that many more people are inspired to participate in this work once they hear a bit more about the miracles that you've made possible at Modest Needs over the past five years.

So, set your VCRs and Tivos, tell your friends, and get ready for a great time on Saturday morning! And after the segment airs, I'd really love to hear what you thought of it. As always, you can contact me directly by sending mail to drkeith@modestneeds.org I do my best to personally answer every letter that I receive.

I'll have more 'too big for the blog' news for you shortly, including a truly inspirational 'Profile in Courageous Generosity' that I've been working on for quite some time. But in the meantime, you can always see the day-to-day Modest Needs news via the Modest Needs Blog. I hope to see many of you there soon.

So until Saturday, here's wishing you and your family more health, happiness and prosperity than your lives can possibly contain. Take care, and be well!

My very best,

Good morning, everyone!

This will be the world’s shortest news update because really big news doesn’t require too many words. Get ready:

Modest Needs’ new friend, Emmy award-winning actress Allison Janney, appeared on the Ellen Degeneres Show yesterday – and while she was there, she took four minutes or so to talk about the work we do at Modest Needs.

This episode of the Ellen Degeneres Show will air today at its regularly scheduled time in your city, so be sure you set your Tivos and such. We’ll have the clip online at Modest Needs as soon as we can get it ourselves. But if the Modest Needs website appears to run a little more slowly than usual today – well, now you know what’s happening!

Also today – and this is especially fitting – I’m proud to announce the world premiere of Modest Needs’ new Public Service Announcement, featuring Allison Janney. When you see it, I think you’ll agree that it just couldn’t have turned out any better than it did. It’s beautiful.

I’ve ‘You-Tubed’ the 30 second version of the PSA so that you won’t have any trouble watching it. You can see it right now on our homepage, at http://www.modestneeds.org/, or on the Modest Needs Blog, at http://modestneeds.typepad.com/

And finally, while you’re at Modest Needs having a look at the PSA, I’d like to encourage you to take a moment to enjoy one of the most important innovations we’ve made to Modest Needs since our launch in 2002.

We have finally made the Modest Needs Ledger (now called ‘Browse Applications’) completely interactive. Helping hard-working families has always been rewarding, but I think you’ll agree – it has never been quite this much fun before!

To view the new ledger page, just click ‘Browse Applications’ from the Modest Needs homepage, at http://www.modestneeds.org/ I honestly think you’ll be impressed.

After you’ve had a look at our PSA, our innovative new ‘Browse Application’s page, and – perhaps – seen the Ellen Degeneres show (most of you will see it before we do here!), I’d love to hear your comments. As always, you can reach me directly by sending mail to drkeith@modestneeds.org

Thank you so very much, as always, for your kindness, compassion, and ongoing support of Modest Needs Foundation. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Take care, and be well!

All best,

Dr. Keith P. Taylor
President / Executive Director
Modest Needs Foundation
‘Small Change: A World of Difference’
8/26 Renewing the Gulf Coast

If you're one of the many families struggling to rebuild your lives in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Modest Needs wants to help you through our special Gulf Coast Renewal Initiative.

Modest Needs' Gulf Coast Renewal Initiative is designed to offer several critical types of assistance that are not available elsewhere to qualified Gulf Coast families. Types of assistance available only through this program include (but are not limited to):

~ Assistance with the cost of returning to your hometown, if you're currently living in another US state and are ready to go home;

~ Assistance with the cost of building supplies, if your home is still standing and you need help with the materials necessary to repair it;

~ Assistance with the cost of basic household necessities, if your home is already livable but you need help to afford items like beds, or a refrigerator; and

~ Assistance with the cost of housing / utility deposits, if your home is no longer livable and you need help to relocate WITHIN one of the Gulf Coast states; and

~ Assistance with the cost of insurance deductibles, if your home was insured against flood damage, and you can't start rebuilding because you can't afford to pay the insurance deductible.

How Modest Needs Works for Applicants

Modest Needs makes three types of grants, all designed to stop the cycle of poverty before it starts for a struggling individual or family. Our grants generally remit payment for an emergency expense on behalf of an applicant.
All of the services we provide at Modest Needs are absolutely free, and our grants come with absolutely no strings attached. They do not ever have to be repaid.
Applicants should know that though our maximum grant is $1000, historically, our average grant has been for about $180. In addition, to ensure that our available funding is used only for the purpose intended, Modest Needs does not pay cash directly to our approved applicants. Rather, when we approve a grant to cover an emergency expense, we pay that grant directly to a creditor.
If you're facing a temporary financial crisis because of an unexpected emergency expense and qualify for no other type of assistance, you can complete and submit an application either online (recommended) or by mail simply by visiting our Applications and Instructions page.
If we have an application slot available, the entire application process should take you less than ten minutes. And, if our donors indicate a high degree of interest in your application, we will make every effort to fund it as quickly as possible, usually within two weeks or less.

Double the Value of Your Donation: Make a Pledge!

Thanks to the generosity of a private foundation that has asked to remain anonymous, YOUR PLEDGES TO MODEST NEEDS ARE BEING MATCHED, DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR, THROUGHOUT 2006!!

What does this mean to you? Simple. It means that in 2006, your 'small change' has TWICE the power to change a life at Modest Needs!
Thanks to this matching grant, throughout 2006 at Modest Needs:
a $10 weekly pledge is worth $20 a week
a $100 monthly pledge is worth $200 a month
a $1000 annual pledge is worth $2000 this year

And so forth, with NO LIMITS OF ANY KIND, until we've qualified to receive the entire matching grant of $300,000!

Best of all, under this matching grant initiative, your pledge to Modest Needs is being matched, not just once or twice, but EVERY TIME YOUR PLEDGE IS MADE! In other words, a $100 monthly pledge at Modest Needs isn't worth just an extra $100. It's worth an extra $100 EACH AND EVERY MONTH, for all of 2006.

We need YOUR help to qualify for the entire $300,000 matching grant. Right now, with a large matching grant at stake, a pledge of any size has more power than ever to change a life at Modest Needs.

You can create a pledge of any size you like - in two minutes or less - through our express giving system. And you can rest easy knowing that, at Modest Needs, your personal information is protected by Bank of America and Authorize.net - the leaders in online security. You can also explore these other ways to give.

Especially now, when your 'small change' is worth so much to people who really NEED our help, we appreciate your generous support of hard-working individuals and families with 'modest needs.'

Remember, you can also make a gift or pledge by phone. To do so, please call (212) 463-7042.
Without you, this work would not be possible.

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Friday, June 16, 2006

MS State Extension Service

2/9 Excerpt From Article
ELLISVILLE - The foliage thickens.
Horticulture and forestry students at Jones County Junior College are cultivating more than 1,500 hardwood seedlings for eventual replanting on campus, in Ellisville, Laurel and beyond, thanks to a recent grant worth more than $43,600 from the Mississippi Forestry Commission.
"They'll be planted on public property where trees were damaged or destroyed" by Hurricane Katrina, said Jim Walley, JCJC vice president for external funding.
"It won't be as many as the storm blew down," Ellisville Mayor Tim Waldrup added. "But it will be a good start."

Article Update From MS Business http://msbusiness.com/article.cfm?ID=3534
Tree recovery campaign in full gear
August 18, 2006
MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST — Launched last year by the National Audubon Society and The National Arbor Day Foundation, the Katrina Tree Recovery Campaign has distributed more than 25,000 free trees to residents of coastal Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana, and thousands more are on the way. As the prime fall planting season approaches, the Arbor Day Foundation will deliver at least 18,000 additional trees for a second tree giveaway program.
The campaign, which was created in the wake of the devastation caused by Katrina, is designed to help with the region's tree recovery efforts. To date, donations from members of the Arbor Day Foundation and other citizens spanning 43 states have contributed to the campaign, to help families rebuild their lives and the tree canopy of their communities after Katrina.
"We are thrilled to be a part of this campaign to help families rebuild their community forests and bring back the many benefits of trees in their yards, neighborhoods and towns," said Arbor Day Foundation president John Rosenow. "Through their contributions, supporters throughout America can make it possible for people along the Gulf Coast to plant native trees, restoring the beauty, habitat and conservation benefits they provide."
To contribute to the Katrina Tree Recovery Campaign, send contributions to The National Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City, NE 68410, or contribute online at http"//www.arborday.org/Katrina/.
http://msucares.com/disaster/index.html - GREAT links for information for timber, farmer and private citizen. Go!

Contact: Glenn Hughes, Extension Forestry
Mississippi State University Extension Service
Purvis, MS
(601) 794-0671 (ph)
(601) 270-8729 (cell)
Released 6 June 2006

Katrina Forest Restoration Programs Planned

Hurricane Katrina damaged an estimated $888 million worth of timber in Mississippi in one day. Almost 80% of this loss occurred in a 10-county area from Hattiesburg to the Gulf Coast. Private, non-industrial forest landowners sustained most of this loss.

A series of upcoming workshops in south Mississippi will help landowners decide how to move forward in this post-Katrina environment. This is particularly important because the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that we are in a 15-25 year period of more frequent and intense hurricane activity.

The first set of workshops will focus on “Reforestation in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.” Each one-day workshop will consist of indoor presentations and field visits after lunch. Topics addressed at each workshop will include 1) managing storm damaged forests, 2) managing invasive species, 3) pros and cons of various pine species, 4) pine site preparation options, 5) hardwood regeneration options, and 6) cost-share assistance available to landowners.

Dates and locations are: June 20, Perkinston; June 21, Kiln, June 22, Gautier; June 27, McComb; June 28, Purvis; and June 29, Waynesboro. Cost for each workshop is $10, and includes materials, refreshments, and lunch. Pre-registration is required. Registration is at 8:30, and the program runs from 8:45 to 3:00 p.m.

The second set of workshops will focus on “Longleaf Pine Management for Landowners.” These one-day workshops will focus on replanting and restoring longleaf pine. Topics will include 1) overview of longleaf pine, 2) the economics of longleaf pine, 3) using fire in longleaf, 4) longleaf regeneration, 4) managing longleaf, and 5) cost-share assistance available to landowners.

Dates and locations are: June 30, Columbia; and July 11, Leakesville. Cost for this workshop is $20 and includes materials, refreshments, and lunch. Registration is at 8:30, and the program runs from 8:45 to 3:00 p.m.

Each workshops has cost-share assistance that will help landowners restore and replant. This cost-share will reimburse landowners for some of the expenses they incur. Full details of the cost-share will be presented at the workshops, and can include developing a management plan, site preparation, seedling purchase, and planting costs. In some cases, cost-share assistance can be used in conjunction with other cost-share assistance, potentially reimbursing landowners for up to 100% of the replanting costs.

For further information, contact the Mississippi State University Extension Service at 601-794-0671, or send an email to ghughes@ext.msstate.edu.

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Home Depot Disaster Clinics

No - not how to create a disaster! How to prepare for a disaster, should one be made!

Hurricane Prep Clinics are offered at over 350 The Home Depot stores. Please check with your local The Home Depot store to see if these clinics are offered in your area.

How to Build Our Family Disaster Supplies Kit
Saturdays, 11 a.m. to Noon
June 17th
July 15th
August 12th
September 9th

How to Prepare for a Hurricane
Saturdays, 11 a.m. to Noon
June 24
July 22
August 19
September 16

ABCs of Hurricane Prep
Saturdays, 11 a.m. to Noon
July 1st
July 29th
August 26th
September 23rd

How to Protect Your Property from Wind
Saturdays, 11 a.m. to Noon
July 8th
August 5th
September 2nd
September 30th

New Hope Construction


Founded in 1996 by W. Russell Meade, New Hope Construction began with the vision of providing simple, quality built, affordable Pre-framed House Packages to churches and other non-profit organizations for low-income families and our "11th House" Program donates tithe houses. Our products and services are now available to the general public.
All revenue generated supports the financial requirements of our mission and Seniors at Home.
NHC's Seniors at Home is for seniors with limited income who need decent, affordable housing.
New Hope Construction is the best cost saving value available on today's pre-framed housing

I spoke with Jim Crowley regarding working with non-profits to help THEM rebuild, and he would love to hear from any and all who lost their buildings. Please call HIM at 1-866-396-4673
To see some of their floor plans, use the following link:

Disaster Relief Housing Project (in Pearlington, MS right now)

TOLL FREE 1-866-396-4673

New Hope Construction also accepts VISA OR MASTER CARD.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

When No Masks Are Available

Simple Respiratory Mask

Virginia M. Dato,* David Hostler,* and Michael E. Hahn**University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

To the Editor: The US Department of Labor recommends air-purifying respirators (e.g., N95, N99, or N100) as part of a comprehensive respiratory protection program for workers directly involved with avian influenza–infected birds or patients (1). N95 respirators have 2 advantages over simple cloth or surgical masks; they are >95% efficient at filtering 0.3-μm particles (smaller than the 5-μm size of large droplets—created during talking, coughing, and sneezing—which usually transmit influenza) and are fit tested to ensure that infectious droplets and particles do not leak around the mask (2–4). Even if N95 filtration is unnecessary for avian influenza, N95 fit offers advantages over a loose-fitting surgical mask by eliminating leakage around the mask.

The World Health Organization recommends protective equipment including masks (if they not available, a cloth to cover the mouth is recommended) for persons who must handle dead or ill chickens in regions affected by H5N1 (5). Quality commercial masks are not always accessible, but anecdotal evidence has showed that handmade masks of cotton gauze were protective in military barracks and in healthcare workers during the Manchurian epidemic (6,7). A simple, locally made, washable mask may be a solution if commercial masks are not available. We describe the test results of 1 handmade, reusable, cotton mask.

For material, we choose heavyweight T-shirts similar to the 2-ply battle dress uniform T-shirts used for protective masks against ricin and saxitoxin in mouse experiments (8). Designs and T-shirts were initially screened with a short version of a qualitative Bitrex fit test
(9) (Allegro Industries, Garden Grove, CA, USA). The best were tested by using a standard quantitative fit test, the Portacount Plus Respirator Fit Tester with N95-Companion (TSI, Shoreview, MN, USA) (10). Poor results from the initial quantitative fit testing on early prototypes resulted in the addition of 4 layers of material to the simplest mask design. This mask is referred to as the prototype mask (Figure).

A Hanes Heavyweight 100% preshrunk cotton T-shirt (made in Honduras) (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol12no06/disc01.htm) was boiled for 10 minutes and air-dried to maximize shrinkage and sterilize the material in a manner available in developing countries. A scissor, marker, and ruler were used to cut out 1 outer layer (≈37 × 72 cm) and 8 inner layers (Figure.

A fit factor is the number generated during quantitative fit testing by simulating workplace activities (a series of exercises, each 1 minute in duration). The Portacount Plus Respirator Fit Tester with N95-Companion used for the test is an ambient aerosol instrument that measures aerosol concentration outside and inside the prototype mask. The challenge agent used is the ambient microscopic dust and other aerosols that are present in the air.

A commercially available N95 respirator requires a fit factor of 100 to be considered adequate in the workplace. The prototype mask achieved a fit factor of 67 for 1 author with a Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) panel face size of 4, a common size. Although insufficient for the workplace, this mask offered substantial protection from the challenge aerosol and showed good fit with minimal leakage. The other 2 authors with LANL panel face size 10, the largest size, achieved fit factors of 13 and 17 by making the prototype mask inner layers slightly larger (22 cm2).

We do not advocate use of this respirator in place of a properly fitted commercial respirator. Although subjectively we did not find the work of breathing required with the prototype mask to be different from that required with a standard N95 filtering facepiece, persons with respiratory compromise of any type should not use this mask. While testers wore the mask for an hour without difficulty, we cannot comment on its utility during strenuous work or adverse environmental conditions.

We showed that a hand-fashioned mask can provide a good fit and a measurable level of protection from a challenge aerosol. Problems remain. When made by naive users, this mask may be less effective because of variations in material, assembly, facial structure, cultural practices, and handling. No easy, definitive, and affordable test can demonstrate effectiveness before each use. Wearers may find the mask uncomfortable.

We encourage innovation to improve respiratory protection options. Future studies must be conducted to determine levels of protection achieved when naive users, following instructions, produce a similar mask from identical or similar raw materials. Research is needed to determine the minimal level of protection needed when resources are not available for N95 air-purifying respirators since the pandemic threat from H5N1 and other possible influenza strains will exist for the foreseeable future.

Fungal Contamination - CDC

This is a portion of an article published by the CDC through the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Review. The entire article (36 pages) can be viewed at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/rr/rr5508.pdf

Potential Health Effects of Fungal Contamination

In recent years, the health effects of exposure to mold in built environments have been a subject of intense public concern. These concerns and how they are approached will have important implications for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of cities in states affected by major hurricanes or floods.

Many clinical conditions could be caused by the fungal contamination associated with flooding after major hurricanes or floods. Predicting what might occur is speculative. However, many of these conditions are uncommon and will be recognized only if there is a high clinical index of suspicion (Table 2). Anticipating what medical problems could be associated with post-flood fungal contamination might help in preventing them by identifying susceptible populations and making recommendations for reducing potentially harmful exposures.

Although this report focuses on potential health effects of fungal contamination, other exposures are also of concern. For example, dampness favors proliferation of dust mites and microorganisms such as bacteria (44,45) and nontuberculous mycobacteria (46). Endotoxins (components of the cell walls of Gram-negative bacteria) have strong inflammatory properties (6,44,45,47--49). Moisture also can release chemical constituents from building materials (6). Standing water supports rodent and cockroach infestations (15,44,45) and proliferation of mosquitoes (30). Fecal contamination of the environment raises concerns about protozoal and helminthic parasites (50). Fungi are not the sole potential cause of many conditions discussed in this report, and these conditions are only a subset of the conditions of concern to clinicians and public health professionals dealing with the aftermath of major hurricanes or floods (51).

Overview of Fungal-Induced Diseases

Fungi can cause a variety of infectious (52--58) and noninfectious conditions (6,44,45,47,59,60). Several basic mechanisms can underlie these conditions, including immunologic (e.g., IgE-mediated allergic), infectious, and toxic (6). Several of these mechanisms contribute to pathogenesis of a fungal-induced disease. The types and severity of symptoms and diseases related to mold exposure depend in part on the extent of the mold present, the extent of the person's exposure, and the susceptibility of the person (e.g., persons who have allergic conditions or who are immunosuppressed are more susceptible than those without such conditions). Molds produce a variety of volatile organic compounds (6,7,60), the most common being ethanol (61), which are responsible for the musty odors associated with fungal growth. Exposure to moldy indoor environments is also associated with a variety of upper and lower respiratory tract symptoms (6).

One Syndrome associated with Fungal Contamination:

Organic dust toxic syndrome (ODTS) has been reported among workers in a variety of agricultural and industrial settings and is thought to involve inhalation exposure to materials with heavy microbial contamination (67--69). Etiologic exposures that cause ODTS are often a poorly defined mixture of substances, including fungi, bacteria, and microbial constituents such as endotoxin (67--69). ODTS is characterized by fever and influenza-like symptoms, including general weakness, headache, chills, body aches, and cough occurring 4--12 hours after heavy exposure to organic dust (67--69). Dyspnea also is sometimes present. Results of chest auscultation and chest radiographs are usually normal (67,68). The peripheral white blood count is often elevated during attacks. Accurate patient history is critical for making a correct diagnosis. Although the symptoms resemble those of acute HP, they are not caused by response of the immune system to a specific antigen in the environment (67,68).

ODTS poses a risk for workers performing renovation work on building materials and is a realistic concern for workers handling heavily contaminated materials in the aftermath of major hurricanes or floods. ODTS is best prevented by minimizing exposure through engineering controls, administrative controls, and respirators (69). For agricultural workers handling organic dusts, CDC recommends using the most practical respirator with the highest assigned protection factor.

Guidelines For Use of PPE

This is part of a report published by the CDC through Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Review on 6/9/06.
The entire article can be found at:http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/rr/rr5508.pdf

PPE Guidelines for Workers in Mold-Contaminated Areas


Exposure to some level of airborne mold is inevitable because molds are found indoors and outdoors (6,17). However, demolishing or cleaning heavily mold-contaminated materials outdoors can lead to excessive exposure to mold. The level of exposure to mold outdoors is primarily based on the amount of mold-contaminated material, the amount of mold in the material, and the type of work being performed. The need for PPE (including respiratory, skin, and eye protection) for outdoor workers requires ongoing professional assessment that considers the potential for exposure to mold and the potential for exposure to other hazardous substances that might be in the outdoor work area.


Guidelines summarized below are based on guidelines from OSHA (37,42,43), EPA (13), and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (18). These guidelines recommend particular respirators on the basis of the size of the area of mold contamination. However, the size criteria are based on general professional judgment and practicality because data are limited related to the extent of contamination to the frequency or severity of health effects.

When determining the potential for airborne exposure to mold and the need for PPE, the size of the area is not the only criterion to be considered. The activities being performed in relation to the mold-contaminated materials are at least as important. Therefore, ongoing professional judgment always must play a part in decisions concerning PPE. For example, any remediation or other work that disturbs mold and causes mold spores to become airborne increases the degree of respiratory exposure.
Actions that tend to disperse mold include
breaking apart moldy porous materials such as wallboard;
destructive invasive procedures to examine or remediate mold growth in a wall cavity;
removal of contaminated wallpaper by stripping or peeling;
and using fans to dry items or ventilate areas.

In addition, health status and other characteristics of the persons potentially exposed to mold also might need to be considered.

Category I Protection

Respiratory protection (e.g., N-95 disposable respirator). Respirators must be used in accordance with the OSHA respiratory protection standard (9,37).

Gloves and eye protection.

For use while cleaning the following:
Small isolated areas (<10 square feet) of heating, ventilation, and HVAC systems (includes pipes, ducts, and vents).
Isolated areas (<100 square feet) of building materials (e.g., ceiling tiles, small areas on walls, and individual or multiple wallboard panels).

Category II Protection

Respiratory protection with full face-piece respirators, with N100, R100, P100 (or for powered air purifying respirators, HEPA) particulate filters. Respirators must be used in accordance with the OSHA respiratory protection standard (13).
Disposable protective clothing covering entire body including both head and shoes.

For use while cleaning the following:
Large contaminated areas (>10 square feet) of HVAC systems.
Extensively contaminated (>100 contiguous square feet) building materials.
Any size area where substantial dust is generated during cleaning or debris removal (e.g., when abrasives must be used to clean contaminated surfaces or plaster walls are being demolished).
Areas where the visible concentration of mold is heavy (blanket coverage rather than patchy).

These guidelines should be followed according to professional judgment. For example, more protective respirators might be required if toxic contaminants such as asbestos or lead are encountered during cleanup. All workers dealing with large areas of contamination should be properly trained to handle hazardous materials.

PPE Guidelines for the Public (Nonworkers) in Residences and Nonoccupational Settings

Clean-up, Debris Removal, or Similar Activities

The activities (and possible exposure to mold) of persons re-entering their homes or working outside might be similar to those of workers. Preventing the creation of dust and limiting exposure to dust are the best ways to minimize exposure to mold (
1,9,18). For example, using wet mops or vacuums with HEPA filters instead of dry sweeping dust and debris will decrease the amount of dust in the air (1,9,18).

If building occupants, residents, or anyone must be around mold-contaminated dust, respirators will offer some protection. Particulate respirators (such as NIOSH-certified N-95 respirators) can be purchased in safety supply stores and in most home improvement stores. Several factors are required for respirators to provide protection from inhalation hazards (15,38,41,43):
The respirator must fit well and be worn correctly. The manufacturer's instructions on the package should be followed. Because respirators are meant to be used by healthy workers who have had training, medical evaluations, and a proper fitting, the amount of protection provided by a respirator to the general public might be much less.

No U.S. agency tests and certifies respirators for public use. However, NIOSH tests and certifies respirators for use by workers to protect against workplace hazards. Respirators certified by NIOSH will be labeled "NIOSH Approved" and will have an approval label that identifies the hazard it will protect against. The N-95 respirator is approved only for particulates including dust in the air from sweeping, sawing, mold removal, and other activities that cause dust. The N-95 respirator is not designed to protect against exposure to vapors or gases (e.g., carbon monoxide) and will not provide protection from them.

A properly worn disposable respirator requires that:
Metal nose piece
, if present, is on the top to adjust the fit to the wearer's nose.
NIOSH label is on the bottom outside of the respirator.
Both respirator retaining straps are in place, and they are securing the respirator to the face (some respirators have only one strap).

For the Public Not Involved in Clean-up, Debris Removal, or Similar Activities

Persons not involved in activities that disturb mold-contaminated materials have a lower risk for inhalation exposure relative to persons performing those types of activities. Persons collecting belongings, visually inspecting homes or buildings, or doing basic clean-up for short periods in a previously flooded home or building will not usually need to use a respirator.

For the Public Unable to Use PPE or at High Health Risk from Exposure to Mold

The effect of exposure to mold varies widely. Persons who might be affected to a greater extent than the majority of healthy adults include (5,6,9):
persons with respiratory conditions (e.g., asthma) or allergies, and
persons with weakened immune systems (e.g., patients receiving chemotherapy, organ or bone marrow transplant recipients, or persons with human immunodeficiency virus infection or autoimmune diseases).

Persons with special health concerns should consult their health-care provider if they are concerned about mold exposure. Symptoms that might seem related to mold exposure might have other causes, such as bacterial or viral infections or other allergies. The level of risk associated with exposure activities and the potential benefit of recommended PPE are unknown for pregnant women, persons aged >65 years, and children aged <12 years; exposure-reducing behavior and respiratory protection might be difficult for children aged <12 years.

Using respirators or other PPE might increase health risks for persons with underlying health conditions. Persons who have trouble breathing while using a respirator should stop working and contact a doctor or other medical provider (

For persons at potentially increased health risks from exposure to mold, persons of unknown or uncertain risk, or persons unable to use respirators, caution is recommended when entering heavily mold contaminated environments, particularly when mold clean-up is occurring. Persons in these categories should avoid such situations if possible.