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.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Katrina Aid Today

Katrina Aid Today
1720 I St., N.W. Suite 700
Washington, D.C. 20006
Toll free: 888-528-5281

(updates below)

Please Remember KATRINA AID TODAY helps those who were DENIED FEMA assistance as well as those who received partial benefits from them.
As long as you're a survivor of Hurricane Katrina, you can register with KATRINA AID TODAY for all types of assistance.
The way they're set us is they have "partners" - churches or nonprofits or groups everywhere. Each case worker is assigned a certain number of volunteers to help them with the cases. Every case worker is usually given 40 cases. Let me tell you from experience -- 40 cases per case worker, even with volunteer assistants, is a lot! These people do become somewhat overwhelmed. However, they're there to help you.
When you speak with someone at KAT and are assigned a case worker, I'm going to give you a few suggestions and tips as to how to get someone to WANT TO HELP YOU:
1. If you keep in mind that this person is getting 100 calls each day from frantic people who are asking for this and that; and maybe this person hasn't been given the proper training to handle the delicate situation of someone who's nerves are totally and completely frazzled having survived and continuing to survive Katrina (YOU); then...
2. Try to speak to that person in a soft, precise and caring way. Tell them you've been through a lot and are happy someone is finally there to help you out. Ask that person if they are having a good day. Ask how many other cases that person is carrying. Ask if they're liking their job. In other words, try talking to them as if they are your "friend." If you want that person to make something happen for you, then they will certainly make something happen for you if they like you. Even though they're getting paid a salary, it's only human nature that people will help people who they like.
After all, we still know how the FEMA reps talked to everyone on the phone. They were completely burnt out, rude, controlling, and didn't care about anyone. They knew they had job security, because in this crisis, who's going to fire them? Although their rude behavior is not right, there simply wasn't/isn't any way to fix the problem. But, you have some control with the people at KATRINA AID TODAY, so try approaching these people a little differently. Perhaps ask them if it's okay for you to call or email him/her if you don't hear from them when you're supposed to.I know what you've all been through, and from my standpoint, if I were you, I would EXPECT them to pretty much kiss my *whatever* -
BUT if you're gracious, they will be gracious. If you're angry, they won't return your calls.They have a lot of resources that can help many of you here. They will pay for an electric bill, or rent, or gas for your car, or a class, or send you to get clothes somewhere -- they can do all that and more.
So, if you haven't contacted KAT - do so immediately!

4/20 Notes from Jim Jim Cox

This month Katrina Aid Today’s newsletter will focus on “care for the caregivers.” The Katrina Aid Today program has over 673 paid case managers actively advocating for and helping to repair the lives of those impacted by Katrina. For over a year now they have helped to empower over 40,000 families during their road to recovery. Their commitment and dedication for
the clients is unparalleled. Often many have been asked to learn and adapt to a disaster case management model and they have done that will enthusiasm and grace. In some areas the country case managers carry a case load that stretches their capacity and requires their all. Those case managers (including volunteers) are the heart of our work around the country.

Many have now been working for over a year as advocates for their clients in a very intense environment. Many of those committed to helping others face their own personal struggles as a result of Katrina. Carrying the burden of recovery for oneself and that of another can be trying. We continue to advocate with and on behalf of our partners to keep the health of the case
managers as a priority. We hope that our partners will review the
information within the newsletter for ideas on how to support our case managers.

In a recent summary of those clients who completed the Client Satisfaction Survey at the closure of their experience with Katrina Aid Today, 98% of respondents said that Katrina Aid Today’s local staff and case workers are courteous and professional. The voice the clients themselves confirms what we have known for some time—case managers are invested and committed to repairing the lives of those impacted by Katrina.

Please take the time to take care of yourself. We still have a long road to helping those recover and the clients will need you healthy and well to support them through their recovery. If it hasn’t been said recently, we are happy to say it now: Thank you.

Jim Cox
Executive Director, Katrina Aid Today

“Care for the Caregiver” Tips

Understanding the importance of “care for the caregiver,” National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) has published a new resource that addresses the critical importance of emotional and spiritual care to disaster responders and recovery workers. Light Our Way: A Guide for Spiritual Care in Times of Disaster includes “standards of best practice” and shares ideas and resources to encourage care of those who care for others in times of disaster and recovery.

A selection from Light Our Way: “Some tips to mitigate Compassion Fatigue on the personal level include:

* Pamper yourself, you deserve it!
* Listen to some music.
* Keep a journal.
* Eat regular well-balance meals (even if you don’t feel like it).
* Exercise; get fresh air.
* Meditate or pray.
* Reach out to other people.
* Get plenty of rest.
* It’s OK not to feel OK. Let others know how you feel.
* Be aware that overuse of alcohol only numbs feelings, it doesn’t take them away.”

Light Our Way is an excellent resource for Katrina Aid Today program managers and case managers. To find out how to get a copy of NVOAD’s Light Our Way, contact NVOAD at

3/7 The beginning of 2007 has ushered in many changes for Katrina Aid Today. Last month, our staff said farewell to Warren Harrity who resigned his position as Executive Director to continue his career in Foreign Service with the US Agency for International Development. Warren’s tireless energy and commitment have been greatly appreciated by UMCOR and the Katrina Aid Today consortium; we wish him and his family all the best.
I have recently been honored with the opportunity to lead this vital initiative by serving as Executive Director. Having worked on this program from day one, I am committed to investing in partnership with consortium members to address the needs of families impacted by Katrina. This commitment is shared by UMCOR and the Katrina Aid Today staff in Washington.
As we approach the milestone of 40,000 families served, one must believe those families have a greater outlook on life than they did one year ago. Although this is a testament to great work carried out across the country, there are challenges ahead.
As a consortium, we need to improve collaboration in order to reach families that are still in need, continue to advocate on behalf of our clients for additional resources, and we must remember to support each case worker who is giving 100% each day for their clients—for they are an inspiration.
Thank you all for your support and partnership as we move forward with Katrina Aid Today.
Jim Cox Executive Director,
Katrina Aid Today

On February 7, 2007, long time UMCOR associate Jim Cox assumed the role of Executive Director of Katrina Aid Today. Prior to roles with Katrina Aid Today, Jim was executive director of UMCOR’s international division. He served four years in the Caucasus region managing multi-sector relief and development programs. He specializes in program design and implementation with countries in post-conflict settings. Jim has an M.A. in International Politics and Economics from the University of Detroit and he serves as a country specialist for Amnesty International.

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