As Financial Literacy Month was coming to a close last week, Operation HOPE and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on April 27 renewed a partnership agreement aimed at strengthening and expanding the financial counseling resources available to help individuals and families prepare for disasters and recover in the shortest possible time.
FEMA underscores that exact point in a blog post on the MOA signing by Elizabeth Zimmerman, FEMA’s Deputy Associate Administrator of Response and Recovery.
Disasters not only affect community infrastructure and public works, but they often overcome family finances, making recovery difficult and sometimes impossible. Before, during and after disasters strike, we work with a number of non-profit, voluntary and faith-based groups who specialize in getting disaster survivors financially back on their feet.
We helped hundreds of individuals and families following 9/11, and then numerous hurricanes throughout Florida region, but the big response came in the backdrop of the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. To date, HCA has helped more than 100,000 individuals tied to Hurricane Katrina alone, and even worked with former President Bill Clinton and his Clinton Foundation as we provided more than $14 million EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) assistance to the residence of Gulf Port, Mississippi (this done in response to a specific request from our friend, the late Dr. Dorothy I. Height).
So what can you do to be financially prepared for emergencies?
Start by completing our Emergency Financial First Aid Kit, which can help you keep track of important documentation, like insurance policy information, so you have clear financial records that will help maintain stability in the event of an emergency.
You can find additional resources on financial preparedness, more on our partnership with FEMA, and information on helping your community prepare for a disaster at www.CitizenCorps.gov