• June 2008
  • Vol. 9, No. 5

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Long-Term Services After Major Disasters

Natural and manmade disasters of the last decade have highlighted the need for long-term recovery services, as well as the role that nonprofit organizations can play in providing these services. A recent study by the Urban Institute focused on lessons learned from the American Red Cross September 11 Recovery Program (SRP). Due to the substantial charitable donations that followed the September 11 terrorist attack, the Red Cross departed from its usual model of short-term disaster recovery to provide long-term recovery services, initiating the Recovery Grants Program to aid the efforts of community-based organizations. More than 4 years after the September 11 attacks, the Urban Institute contacted more than 1,500 individuals who received SRP services and 66 organizations that received recovery grants to determine the impact of these long-term services.

Five major themes emerged from the interviews:

  • Need for cultural and language competency
  • Inadequate services for children and youth
  • Staff burnout and need for support
  • The stigma of mental health services
  • Difficulties in attracting clients and conducting outreach

Child and youth services recommendations include:

  • Be prepared to address parental resistance when providing services for children and youth by educating and engaging parents.
  • Make services available in schools and other institutions where children congregate.
  • Use age-appropriate program materials.

The study also examines the ways donors and local nonprofits can work together to create more realistic timeframes for service provision, guarantee program flexibility, keep costs under control, attract more clients, and ensure adequate communication and performance measurement and reporting.

To read Providing Long-Term Services After Major Disasters, by Carol J. De Vita and Elaine Morley, visit:

www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/411519_major_disasters.pdf (99 - KB)

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