|Catholic Charities Assists Hurricane Refugees|
|Written by Sherry|
|Monday, 08 September 2008 07:34|
It's good to hear via CNS about a creative new partnership addressing the struggles of returning hurricane refugees in this hurricane season that seems to have no end.
"Catholic Charities USA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are joining in a new pilot program that aims to help hurricane victims receive federal and state assistance they need with less hassle and red tape.
If people cannot return to their homes after a disaster they need to find a place to live, a job and medical care, the same things a person arriving in the United States from another country faces, said Kim Burgo, senior director of Catholic Charities' disaster response office. She also noted that the maze of paperwork an individual must fill out to get assistance can be daunting.
With the new pilot program, one caseworker will be assigned to each family unit or person displaced by Hurricane Gustav, which hit Louisiana Sept. 1."
Sherry's note: I especially like the comment that a hurricane "refugee" who has lost their home is a real refugee who needs much the same things immigrants and refugees from other countries need. That is exactly what it feels like. The level of uncertainty and disruption is very similar even though you may not have to learn a new language - depending upon what part of the south you hail from :-). It is not dramatic exaggeration to use the term "refugee".
"As displaced hurricane evacuees were returning to their homes, staff members and priests representing the Archdiocese of New Orleans and Catholic Charities were on hand, starting Sept. 5, at the Union Passenger Terminal in New Orleans and the Jefferson Parish evacuee return site. An estimated 2 million people evacuated the city and were returning to the area by bus and train. From the city's main terminal they would be transported by bus to one of 17 drop-off points.
Catholic Charities staff members were on hand to provide information about available services in the community and counseling when needed and appropriate. Priests and deacons were available to provide pastoral care.'