USA: Catholic Charities nationwide respond to the needs of hurricane victims

News and Press Release
Originally published

Catholic Charities agencies nationwide are working to meet the immediate needs of hurricane victims, as well as planning long-term recovery efforts. Click on a state to read a snapshot of these local efforts.



Catholic Community Services of Baton Rouge, LA (Updated Oct. 17) Catholic Community Services continues to partner with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Orleans which has been welcomed in Baton Rouge since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast.

Over 3,000 families have registered with agency to receive assistance.

"Louisiana Renaissance" - Catholic Charities agencies in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Houma are working together across southeastern Louisiana in shared ministry, according to the following principles: collaboration with government and business, fluidity and flexibility of programs to meet needs; and a spirit of regionalism for three phases: Response (impact to 6 months), Recovery (6-18 months), and Rebuilding (18 months to 5 years).

Support continues to come from around the country and beyond. Some examples include:

- Four counselors have come from Catholic Charities of Albany to help. This assistance will allow the agency to send case workers into shelters in the rural areas, like Livingston Parish, Ponchatoula, New Roads, etc.

- A motor home filled with mattresses, bedding, and other items was donated to CCS by two professors from Arcadia University in Pennsylvania. The agency will use the motor home as a temporary office to serve outlying areas.

- The Minnesota Coach Company donated six school buses to Catholic Community Services. Five of those busses were given to Diocesan Schools and one was kept to help transport evacuees. The company and its employees also contributed generously to pay for gas and maintenance for the vehicles.

- Three truckloads of supplies were sent by Catholic Schools in Toronto Canada. Six teachers from the schools drove the supplies to Baton Rouge.

With Operation Home Away from Home now up and running, CSS has received more than 200 offers of housing and jobs around the country.

Catholic Social Services of Houma-Thibodaux, LA (Updated Oct. 26) Catholic Social Services has been aiding victims from both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Catholic Social Services' Hurricane Katrina response began the day after the storm and included supplying the shelters with emergency shelter kits (kept permanently in storage at CSS for immediate availability with such things as first aid kits, flashlights, diapers, crayons, hygiene products, etc), blankets, towels, and other basic necessities. Catholic Social Services took over a shelter for New Orleans police officers and their families at the request of the local government. Two Catholic parishes operated additional shelters.

In cooperation with Operation Starfish, a program created by the diocesan Vocations Office, CSS has coordinated and paid for travel for over 1,500 people flying or being driven to relatives around the country from local shelters. Case managers were sent from Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Cleveland to augment the staff of Catholic Social Services in this work, implementing the CCUSA Operation Home Away From Home program in this diocese. The Archdiocese of Baltimore is sending staff next week to continue casework assistance.

As the shelter in Thibodaux closed on October 23, Catholic Social Services worked throughout the weekend continuing to provide coordination and transportation for evacuees moving to apartments, to families and to other states through Operation Home Away From Home. CSS is also paying for rent and utility deposits, rent and medicine for evacuees. A CSS volunteer has driven 43 evacuee families to local stores to purchase items needed to set up new households upon leaving the shelters. There is now only one shelter left in the diocese with less than 100 people in residence and CSS continues casework in that location.

Using a stolen New Orleans transit bus recovered by local deputies and other impromptu headquarters, the agency helped hundreds of evacuees from the shelters sign up for emergency food stamps and to access other vital services.

Four days after Katrina struck, CSS created parish-based volunteer "Matthew 25 Response Teams" to organize volunteers in disaster recovery. Thousands of Catholics worked at local shelters doing everything from bringing home and washing laundry to baby sitting children. Matthew 25 teams, in cooperation with local Knights of Columbus Councils cooked thousands of meals for evacuees in shelters, first responders and volunteers.

The Matthew 25 teams have cooked weekly suppers, held in parish halls, for evacuees and host families in the community. They have set up "stores" in parish halls to help with household supplies.

Matthew 25 teams are adopting local hotels and nursing homes to respond to the ongoing needs of evacuees.

CSS Food Banks and the Thrift Store helped hundreds of people with emergency food and clothing.

Within a couple of weeks after Katrina, over 6,000 homes in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux flooded during Hurricane Rita. Never in its history has the diocese seen this much flooding and the storm didn't even come that close. This is on top of the hundreds of homes that flooded on Grand Isle during Katrina and flooded again during Rita (the ones that were still standing). Hardest hit were families who rely on shrimping or the petroleum industry for employment.

The agency coordinated the delivery of cleaning supplies and other items to local victims of Rita. Beginning less than 24 hours after Rita struck, CSS purchased and distributed over 6,000 mops, 4,500 brooms, buckets, bleach and disinfectant and other cleaning supplies along each effected bayou. CSS even purchased sunscreen for first responders directing traffic.

Hundreds of families are being assisted with the FEMA recovery process through TRAC, a local non profit co-founded and partially funded by CSS. CSS will assist families' with their unmet recovery needs for many years to come after FEMA and insurance companies complete their assistance within the coming months.

According to Rob Gorman, executive director of Catholic Social Services, "The response of the church has been overwhelming. Bishop Sam Jacobs was in the field every day for weeks and mobilized the Chancery staff to do disaster relief since they returned to work after Katrina. Clergy offered Mass at each shelter. Clergy, religious, and lay Catholics are daily doing pastoral counseling and visiting."

Catholic Services Centers, Diocese of LaFayatte, LA (Updated Oct. 17) The diocese has spent over $200,000.00 and helped over 4,000 families that are displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. A program was set up to be a bridge to help those in need survive until FEMA and other agencies could provide assistance.

The diocese has also mobilized their JustFAITH Parishes and 220 JustFAITH graduates. Immediately after Hurricane Katrina hit the area, the graduates and other volunteers helped opened shelters and some opened homes for evacuees.

The Order of Malta and the Order of St. George have provided support for three emergency shelters in the diocese. The Order of St. George is sending 400 trailers to establish housing for evacuees.

After Katrina, more than 10,000 evacuees came to Acadiana seeking shelter, food, and other social services. Many parishes opened their doors, collected supplies and provided numerous volunteers to assist evacuees. Then Hurricane Rita hit and most Hurricane Katrina victims were evacuated to northern parts of Louisiana. They have returned now and joined Hurricane Rita evacuees at shelters and Catholic social service centers. The coastal areas of the diocese have been devastated by Hurricane Rita.

Catholic Social Services is working with the City of Lake Charles in a coordinated response to recovery. The most urgent need surfaced is housing.

Catholic Charities of New Orleans, LA (Updated Oct. 31) Catholic Charities is working from Baton Rouge to respond to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and compounded by Hurricane Rita. The agency continues to respond to emerging needs and plan for the recovery and rebuilding of a greater New Orleans.

- Second Harvest - a program of Catholic Charities - is distributing 500,000 pounds of food each day to shelters, churches and agencies that feed the hungry.

- Catholic Charities has provided counseling, case management and pastoral care at the Superdome, Armstrong airport, shelters, motels, trailer parks, and to those returning to their homes and neighborhoods.

- Catholic Charities has provided direct assistance through seven emergency assistance centers, including one in Orleans Parish Catholic Charities is distributing more than $100,000 every week. Assistance includes rent, utilities, food, transportation, medical, clothing, furniture, along with case management and crisis counseling.

- Catholic Charities is currently recruiting 400 outreach workers and counselors for a grassroots recovery initiative. Dubbed "Louisiana Spirit", the project will send outreach workers to each house, shelter and neighborhood in seven civil parishes. The workers will check on residents to determine how well they are coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; provide information, referral and education services; and assist people with their personal recovery plan.

- Two ACCESS centers are currently open and operating in the New Orleans Metropolitan area. Maternity services include free pregnancy testing, counseling, medical referrals, and Medicaid applications.

- Deaf interpreters have been working 24/7 since right before Katrina and all through the aftermath, the Deaf Action Center will open an office in Metairie, LA.

- Catholic Charities continues to provide services and care to battered women, abused and neglected children, the homeless, the deaf, and those with severe mental and physical disabilities.

- The agency has helped to relocate more than 1000 families to places where they have relatives. The agency reports that there is a strain on low-income host families who are struggling to accommodate large extended families.

- The New Orleans agency has provided care for New Orleans firemen and policemen. The agency is operating a medical and respite care center in Baton Rouge, where the responders who are working on the ground in the devastated city can get crisis and trauma counseling, medical attention, and other support services before they spend a few days of rest with their families and then return to duty.

- Catholic Charities residential facilities continue to operate efficiently in their temporary homes. Staff has evacuated with the residents and continues to care for them, some bringing their families with them. The children of Catholic Charities Padua Pediatrics program are safe and have returned home to Belle Chase, LA.

- The agency had reopened vital domestic violence shelters. Partnering with other community providers, services will include:

- 24/7 crisis lines;
- crisis shelter;
- information and referral;
- sexual assault and rape crisis counseling;
- legal services;
- children's services; and
- counseling and support groups for survivors of domestic violence.

The domestic violence initiative is funded in part by the generous support of the Mary Kay Foundation.

Catholic Charities of Shreveport, LA (Updated Sept. 15) Agency staff is hosting and feeding 40 members of the Sisters of the Holy Family, an order of African American sisters founded in New Orleans in 1842. The sisters immediately pitched in, offering pastoral care to the many evacuees. They are teaching in the Catholic schools which have welcomed 520 new students. The children are being given donated book bags filled with school supplies.


Catholic Social and Community Services of Biloxi, MS (Updated Sept. 23) The devastation in Biloxi is described as extreme. Catholic Charities of Miami, Catholic Charities of Venice, and the Florida Catholic Conference continue to provide support and technical assistance. They helped the agency open 20 distribution sites throughout the region, which are serving 5,000 a day.

Catholic Charities is now moving into the second stage of recovery. Sheri Cox, an employee of Catholic Charities Northwest Florida in Pensacola, has been named hurricane coordinator for the Diocese of Biloxi. She will be headquartered at St. Mary Parish in Biloxi and will begin to identify the needs in the community and match volunteers and talents. Plans are underway to provide accommodations at a nearby Catholic retreat center for out of town volunteers. Volunteers will be needed throughout the long-term recovery phase.

Catholic Charities of Jackson, MS (Updated Sept. 23) The agency is helping to coordinate many local efforts to help people displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Agency staff is coordinating parish outreach; offering information and referral and emergency assistance; and aiding the state in managing a warehouse and distribution center.

Partnering with both the United Way and Salvation Army, the agency's Natchez office is assisting 9,000 evacuees down from 12,000 (The City of Natchez normally only has 19,000 people).The agency is also assisting people with transportation needs so they can be reunited with family. Catholic Charities of Miami, Catholic Charities of Venice, and the Florida Catholic Conference have provided support and technical assistance. The agency is also hosting the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) meetings and helping to develop a Mississippi VOAD Web site.

The agency is beginning long-term recovery efforts securing additional office space, which may be shared with Lutheran/Episcopal services to avoid duplicating services. They are ramping up counseling services, focusing a post traumatic stress disorder. Housing and job placement are also anticipated to be needed.


Catholic Social Services for the Diocese of Mobile, AL (Updated Sept. 8) The agency has offices in Mobile and Robertsdale that have been serving a large number of evacuees.

In Robertsdale, they are feeding and clothing people. They are in need of a computers and fax machines to work with the flood of people asking for assistance.

The Catholic Charities director traveled to Bayou La Batre, an Alabama fishing village. She reports that shrimp boats are scattered in the woods along the coast and the community is completely destroyed. Officials estimate that 1,000 of the city's 2,300 residents lost their homes to Katrina. Most of people are staying on their property, though mainly in vehicles or makeshift shelters. The director is working with a local priest to provide assistance. They are working to find rice, fresh vegetables, Asian noodles, and fish sauce favored by local residents.

The Catholic Charities case workers in Mobile are working with over 125 clients a day. They are providing food and clothing and assisting people in obtaining identification.



Catholic Charities of Arkansas (Updated Sept. 2) Catholic Charities has established a hurricane relief office and is asking that parishes throughout the diocese appoint a volunteer or paid hurricane relief coordinator at the parish level. The agency will provide disaster relief, case management, and resettlement training to all parish relief coordinators so that direct services can provided at the parish level. The Catholic Charities hurricane relief office will be responsible for the overall coordination and support of parish efforts and the coordination of efforts with other relief agencies.


Catholic Community Service of Southern Arizona (Updated Sept.29) The Tucson agency is providing housing and case management for five families evacuated from the Gulf Coast. They have also been providing medical care though its primary care clinic -- St. Elizabeth of Hungary. The agency has served 30 individuals with services such as surgical follow-up (one woman arrived who had a mastectomy only days prior to evacuating), wound treatment, chronic disease follow up, medications, and dental services. More people are asking for help each day. Catholic Community Services is coordinating with other faith based organizations and churches to plan for the long term as people make more permanent plans and beyond the first 90 days of support offered by the local government.


Catholic Charities of the East Bay, CA (Updated Oct.27) Catholic Charities of the East Bay, serving Alameda and Contra Costa Counties in the San Francisco Bay Area is currently providing case management, financial assistance, and adopt-a-family services to more than 130 Katrina evacuees. More than 23 parishes are helping families with rent, furniture, household goods and financial assistance. Catholic schools have opened their doors, waiving tuition and providing uniforms, books and even lunch tickets to the children of evacuees.

Catholic Charities has disbursed over $55,000 in basic needs grants, housing assistance, transportation assistance, and for miscellaneous expenses such as medication and textbooks. Much more has been provided through the generosity of parishes and the Catholic community as a whole.

During the week of November 2, Catholic Charities will be co-convening with the Red Cross a local Unmet Needs Committee to assure us of the capacity to sustain a coordinated community response to the longer-term recovery of families who evacuated to the area. According to FEMA records, the two counties have received over 2061 evacuees.

Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, Inc., CA (Updated Oct.26) Catholic Charities is coordinating a long-term Adopt-A-Family Program with the assistance of parishes in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Through its' Adopt-A-Family Program, Catholic Charities receives referrals from agencies such as Red Cross and FEMA, screens the clients and connects them with potential parish sponsors. Participating Catholic parishes in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties identify available housing, such as apartments and houses, and pay the rent. Parish volunteers help evacuee families to secure household items, set up their new homes and adjust to life in the community.

- Over 345 individuals, from 148 families, have been given a wide range of emergency and supportive services.

- Seventeen parish-evacuee matches have been made.

Catholic Charities arranges for supportive services, which may include mental health counseling, food, clothing, job placement assistance, transportation and help with medical issues. Catholic Charities and the parishes provide community and emotional support to evacuees who wish to return to their home state, as well as to those who plan to relocate, for as long as they are needed.

Catholic Charities of San Diego, CA (Updated Sept.5) San Diego has received 80 people so far. Housing is being provided in a local high school gym. Assignment to various agencies will begin on Tuesday. The agency is meeting with the Red Cross this afternoon to establish a community plan that includes nonprofits, county, and city agencies. Another 700 to 1000 people are expected to arrive in the community over the next two weeks.

Catholic Charities/CYO of San Francisco, CA (Updated Sept. 30) The St. Mary's Cathedral emergency shelter closed Sept. 16. During the two weeks the Cathedral Center was open, Catholic Charities and other local agencies assisted more than 200 families from the devastated Gulf Coast. Most of the evacuees came to San Francisco because of their Bay Area connections. Catholic Charities had 50 employees working on a rotation basis. In addition to providing case management, the agency provided comfort care such as handholding, talking, and accompanying people to medical appointments.

Catholic Charities secured housing for four families, accommodating a total of 21 adults and children.

Catholic Charities provided plane fares for family reunification and helped with first and last month's rent for displaced families, household goods such as mattresses and personal items such as eyeglasses, and the bulk of the transportation needs for hurricane victims at the Cathedral Center.


Catholic Charities of Colorado Springs, CO (Updated Oct. 27) Catholic Charities of Colorado Springs had five employees working on a rotating basis and coordinated the efforts of local agencies in providing case management services at the Pikes Peak Disaster Recovery Center in Colorado Springs. The Recovery Center identified nearly 2000 victims of Hurricane Katrina that had arrived in Colorado Springs. The Recovery Center closed on October 21st.

In addition to providing case management, the agency funded half of a full-time case worker with Lutheran Family Services at the Recovery Center and funded a full-time receptionist for the service center. The agency also provided funds to the local mental health agency for medication prescriptions and assisted a local parish in buying grocery cards to be sent to a parish in Louisiana.

Catholic Charities of Colorado Springs is continuing to serve evacuees through its involvement on the Long Term Sustainability Committee and partnering with Lutheran Family Services in funding a full-time case worker for the next several months as individuals and families need support.

Catholic Charities of Denver, CO (Updated Nov. 04) Catholic Charities has linked more than 515 families with available housing. The agency is working with the Colorado Division of Housing to act as the conduit for providing housing throughout most of the state.

Catholic Charities is focusing on providing the necessary case management and follow-up services for evacuee families. The agency has added additional staff, including hiring 3 evacuees to manage the increases case load.


Catholic Charities of Bridgeport, CT (Updated Sept. 30) Catholic Charities of the Bridgeport and volunteers from Saint Michael the Archangel Parish in Greenwich are organizing "Operation New Day" to help furnish 20 apartments in Houston, TX, for relocated victims. It is hoped that large tractor-trailer trucks, donated by Crabtree Automotive Group and Joyce Van Lines, will be filled with 64 new twin beds, as well as with donations of brand-new twin sheets sets/mattress covers, pillows, pillowcases, blankets, and towels. Volunteers from several parishes, including the Saint Mary Parish Youth Group, will help load the trucks, which will leave for Houston on Oct. 7.


Catholic Charities of Washington, DC (Updated Oct. 27) More than 480 Hurricane Katrina survivors have been served by Catholic Community Service's caseworkers, and more than 240 are receiving comprehensive and long-term assistance. Catholic Community Services has placed 24 individuals in long-term housing, and is in the process of placing an additional 89 individuals.

Catholic Community Services also received $475,000 from the Freddie Mac Foundation to help survivors of Hurricane Katrina who relocated in the national capital area. The money will pay for independent housing, groceries, utilities, and other household expenses for 33 families (about 100 people) for three months. The Freddie Mac Foundation grant will also provide Catholic Community Services with funds to hire additional social workers to help Hurricane Katrina survivors.

"Catholic Community Services has already helped more than 400 people who came to our area after Hurricane Katrina," according to Ed Orzechowski, President and CEO of Catholic Community Services. "This support will help us open doors to help and hope for Hurricane Katrina survivors, while maintaining our already busy workload supporting people in need in the Washington area," Orzechowski said.


The Seven Florida Catholic Charities Agencies (Updated Oct. 6) Catholic Charities staff from the seven dioceses of Florida are moving into the next stage of relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi. The Florida agencies adopted the Diocese of Biloxi by offering technical assistance, providing staff, and establishing over 20 relief centers for those in need.

A volunteer center has been established at the Cursillo Retreat Center near Biloxi in a town called Dedeaux, according to Deacon Marcus Hepburn, disaster coordinator of the Florida Catholic Conference. Deacon Hepburn, who just returned from Biloxi, said the facility contains 72 beds and groups of volunteers already are scheduled to arrive over the next several weeks.

Catholic Charities will continue to need volunteers to assist with counseling, administration, cleaning up of debris, and working in the relief centers. Volunteers must bring bedding, pillow, towels, and toiletries to the center. However, hot showers, a chapel, and kitchen are available there. Since there are very few places to stay in Mississippi, Deacon Hepburn said Catholic Charities is fortunate to have access to the retreat center.

"Accessibility from the volunteer center to the hurricane relief centers is straightforward and easy," said Deacon Hepburn. "The majority of travel will be on Interstate 10."

It is estimated that the relief centers are serving up to 5,000 people a day.

A disaster office has been set up at St. Mary Parish in Biloxi. The Diocese of Biloxi has hired Sherri Cox as the Director of the Office of Long Term Recovery. Cox is in the process of building her staff and getting communications up and running.

Anyone interested in volunteering in recovery efforts, can contact Sheri Cox by e-mail at

Catholic Charities of Orlando, FL (Updated Sept. 2) With more than 30 years of immigration and refugee experience to draw on, Catholic Charities of Orlando is identifying and resettling evacuees. To date, there are about 125 families identified by Catholic Charities and sister agencies. The agency expects that the population will increase by thousands in the next few months.


Catholic Social Services of Atlanta (Updated Oct. 18) The offices of Atlanta's Catholic Charities and Catholic Social Services continue to respond aggressively to the continuing needs of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita evacuees that are resettling in the Atlanta area. Over 35,000 evacuees are expected to resettle in north Georgia.

To date the office has distributed $123,753 in direct financial assistance for temporary shelter, food, transportation, and medical services to over 896 families and individuals who have approached the agency for help. Other services provided include counseling, employment referrals, referrals for other federal, state, or United Way assistance, and permanent resettlement help. Spiritual needs are also being met. Evacuees have been given rosaries, bibles, and mass schedules when requested.

The agency has also assisted 46 evacuees who are former employees of Catholic Charities from archdioceses or dioceses in the hurricane affected area.

The Archdiocese of Atlanta has also responded by enrolling 131 students tuition-free in its Catholic school system.

A counseling hotline has been established. And, spiritual needs are also being met. Evacuees have been given rosaries, bibles, and mass schedules when requested.

Catholic Social Services of Savannah, GA (Updated Sept. 30) The diocese reports social service centers around the diocese were assisting families with food, clothing, diapers, and, in a few cases, housing.


Catholic Charities of Idaho, ID (Updated Oct. 17) Catholic Charities is helping 13 families (19 adults and 14 children) who evacuated to Idaho.

The agency sent a team of CCI staff and volunteers to Houston immediately after hurricane to assist with relief efforts in shelters. It also sponsored team of St. Vincent de Paul volunteers to assist in ongoing recovery efforts in Houston

Catholic Charities funded shipment of a 27 foot trailer filled with first aid and emergency supplies, food and water, pet supplies, baby supplies, hygiene items and another 27 foot trailer filled with clean mattresses. Local parishes collected backpacks with school supplies.


Catholic Charities of Chicago, IL (Updated Oct. 27) Catholic Charities of Chicago is currently providing emergency assistance to 450 evacuees who have come to Chicago in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Rita. Each day, Catholic Charities workers in Chicago open three to five new cases due to the hurricanes and close approximately the same amount when evacuees are settled into their new environment.

Catholic Charities has provided a home away from home for more than 47 families displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Seven large multi-generational families are living in town homes on the Maryville Campus in DesPlaines, Illinois. Catholic Charities' shelter created specifically for evacuees, Our Lady of Solace in Chicago, is continuously taking in new families and transitioning them into private apartments.

Catholic Charities eight emergency assistance centers have served over 200 evacuees and are continually welcoming evacuees, providing food, clothing, and financial assistance.

Catholic Charities of Joliet, IL (Updated Sept. 23) Catholic Charities has begun to assists 24 families (85 persons: 60 adults, 25 children) in their Kankakee office.

Financial assistance was provided to 14 families for food, clothing, and prescription drugs. Other assistance has included locating furniture, arranging medical and dental services, negotiating the local services network, enrolling kids in both public and parochial schools, and providing school supplies.

Two families are currently housed in apartments where the landlord has agreed to offer them the space for $400 a month-no deposit was needed. Catholic Charities has been able to pay for the housing for both families for two months until they make long-term plans. Another two families have transferred their Section 8 vouchers to Illinois. Catholic Charities will help furnish the unit.

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria, IL (Updated Oct. 31) During the early weeks of the disaster, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria assisted the Red Cross and other community agencies in establishing intake centers and intake processes for hurricane refugees throughout the Diocese. In addition to helping families and individuals evacuating into the Diocese connect with local sources for food, shelter, and other primary needs, Catholic Charities has continued to keep the 180 parishes in the Diocese informed about the needs of Gulf Coast parishes and needs identified by CCUSA. In order to encourage staff to participate in relief efforts, Catholic Charities has established temporary policies allowing paid time-off for those volunteering to work in the Gulf. Some employees have already returned from serving in the area. The agency is presently organizing a large staff group to send to the Gulf for clean up work. Catholic Charities continues to collect money for relief efforts in the Gulf and to meet emergency needs for evacuees who relocate to Illinois


Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, IN (Updated Nov. 03) Catholic Charities is leading a concerted effort with its six area agencies. There are 1,200 evacuee families in the Indianapolis area and 4,200 in the state of Indiana.

Catholic Charities has served over 40 families with clothing, transportation, food, and financial assistance. A referral specialist coordinated donations and volunteers, and assisted evacuees by linking them with both Catholic Charities services and those available in the larger community. The Catholic Charities Crisis Office expanded services to provide assistance to those displaced by the hurricanes.

The Archdiocese has formed a committee to make recommendations for the expenditure of donated funds for hurricane relief. Bi-weekly updates are provided to all parishes for both the local work of Catholic Charities of Indianapolis and Catholic Charities USA.


Catholic Charities of Salina, KS (Updated Sept. 6) Catholic Charities is expecting 500 refugees. They will be housed in a recently vacated hospital building, the YWCA, and another shelter. The agency plans to work with the Red Cross to find more permanent housing and jobs.

Catholic Charities, Inc. of Wichita, KS (Updated Nov. 7) Catholic Charities of Wichita has helped 48 individuals or families affected by Hurricane Katrina and 14 individuals or families affected by Hurricane Rita - a total of 62 individuals or families. Certificates for food, clothing, hygiene needs, school supplies and car repairs have been provided totaling $59,213. Many have settled in Wichita and others have returned to repair their homes and start life again. The agency reports that each one has a different story to tell, but they all seem to share one element-hope.


Catholic Charities Maine (Updated Oct. 3) Catholic Charities Maine has been asked by Gov. John Baldacci to serve as the lead agency in helping hurricane evacuees who have traveled to Maine, helping them to locate temporary and/or permanent housing. Catholic Charities staff will be working closely with the local chapter of the American Red Cross, the Maine Emergency Management Agency, and other providers to assist evacuees in locating appropriate housing as well as other needed services for more than 60 families. A resource fair specifically for hurricane evacuees was jointly hosted by the participating organizations to help insure that families are aware of available services. Two case managers have been hired to facilitate this project. Catholic Charities Maine is extremely grateful for the generous support from individuals, parishes, and communities with financial donations and offers to provide food, clothing, and furnishings for the evacuees as they settle into their home away from home.


Catholic Charities of Baltimore (Updated Oct. 7) As part of Catholic Charities USA's Operation Home Away from Home program, the agency identifing long-term housing opportunities for evacuees in the area by working with parishes in the diocese and other community organizations. So far, it has 13 viable housing units in its database. The agency is also examining the possibility of temporarily housing and supporting a large Vietnamese evacuee community at a camp in Montgomery County, MD. The Baltimore Vietnamese community has agreed to provide cultural support to the group if they come to Baltimore and is contacting the Vietnamese communities in Silver Spring, MD, and Virginia.

Agency case managers have assessed 10 families for housing and are scheduled to assess additional families in the near future. Parishes are assisting three additional families with furniture and clothing.

In addition, two of the agency's volunteer coordinators from its Community Services Division are interested in providing temporary volunteer coordination for agencies in the Gulf Coast. Catholic Charities is examining the possibility of sending these individuals to agencies in need for two or three weeks in the coming months.


Catholic Charities in Boston, MA (Updated Sept. 9) The Boston-area agency is working with the archdiocese to offer resources to both local and state relief efforts. Archbishop Seán O'Malley has committed to make some diocesan facilities currently not in use available for transitional housing when evacuees leave Camp Edwards and/or when evacuees come to Massachusetts through other channels. Catholic Charities in Boston has offered professional counseling and case management services to those at Camp Edwards. It will provide professional skills and services as requested by the dioceses directly affected by the hurricane in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Catholic Charities of Springfield, MA (Updated Sept. 30) Catholic Charities has begun to help displaced families and individuals currently living in Western Massachusetts. Part of this effort includes local participation in the Operation Home Away From Home program to provide housing to the displaced by utilizing the national network of Catholic Charities USA.


Catholic Charities of Lansing, MI (Sept. 23) St. Vincent Catholic Charities has resettled a total 111 Hurricane Katrina evacuees into about 60 housing units. The agency has received generous support from the local community to provide food, clothing, and furnishing for the evacuees as they settle into their home away from home. The agency is also preparing for to receive additional evacuees ahead of Hurricane Rita.


Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, MN (Sept. 23) Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis is collecting funds for recovery efforts in the Gulf States and for evacuees arriving in Minnesota. The agency is working in consortium with local social service agencies and the interfaith community to assist the more than 1,000 families that have arrived in the state since Katrina hit on Aug. 30. Catholic Charities will provide resource coordination to ensure that immediate and long-term health and mental health, housing, educational, and employment needs are met for 100 families for up to one year. The agency has received hundreds of calls from the community asking for ways to help. In addition to much-needed monetary support of its local relief efforts, the agency is accepting donations of "household kits" to help families as they establish homes here in the Twin Cities. More information can be obtained at by clicking on "Help Hurricane Survivors."


Catholic Charities of St. Louis, MO (Updated Oct. 7) Recovery work is happening on several fronts at the St. Louis area agency.

- Catholic Charities adapted its client in-take process to handle 25-30 new intakes a day. The agency retooled computer programs and client tracking systems specifically to serve and track evacuees. Catholic Charities has placed 1,100 individuals with housing and/or employment programs.

- Catholic Charities hosted the largest gathering of survivors anywhere in St. Louis at one time. Over 250 evacuees wishing to relocate to St. Louis attended its Job and Housing Fair on Sept. 14. Dozens of landlords, property owners, and employers came to offer opportunities for affordable housing and employment.

- Another 75 families attended its Dealing with Disaster Workshop on Sept. 22. Additionally, Catholic Charities hosted and helped organize the first public forum meeting between FEMA and 350 hurricane survivors in St. Louis.

- They created a housing inventory, with assistance from Anheuser-Busch employee volunteers. The inventory will become the source of available housing in the region's efforts for relocating hurricane evacuees. It contains over 600 units of housing identified for inspection and potential placement. Over 110 units are approved and ready for immediate placement.

- Catholic Charities has placed 43 families (134 individuals) into permanent housing, paying all damage deposits and the first month's rent and assisting with utilities for two to six months. It is also working with over 100 evacuees who are still in hotels to find them permanent placements in the next couple of weeks.

- Catholic Charities took the lead in establishing a Hurricane Assistance Hotline - a vital resource to give community members an avenue to provide help to survivors. The 10-station phone bank s is staffed by a team of volunteers from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm daily.

- Partnering with KMOX, Schnucks, the Teamsters, and an army of volunteers, Catholic Charities collected, organized, sorted, and packaged over 1,100 "Welcome Home" kits for hurricane survivor families.

- Eleven furniture stores held a furniture drive that generated seven tractor trailer trucks full of quality used furniture. Catholic Charities secured a warehouse of 7,500 square feet at the Lemp Brewery as a central distribution point.

Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO (Oct. 5) Working in cooperation with Catholic Charities of Kansas, KS, the Missouri-based agency is helping on several different fronts to help evacuees who have found their way to Kansas City. The agency has brought on temporary case workers who have been busy working with evacuees, evaluating their situations, and identifying resources in the community that can assist them in rebuilding their lives. New evacuees from the Gulf Coast, some displaced by hurricane Rita, continue to contact the agency daily requesting aid. Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph is currently assisting about 120 families.

Catholic Charities is one of three primary agencies in Kansas City belonging to COAD (Community Organizations Active during a Disaster). Along with Salvation Army and the Red Cross, Catholic Charities is working to meet the unique needs of each evacuee. Through the efforts of this group, a Welcome Center, where evacuees can access all the agencies they need in one location, is being established.

Catholic Charities has also been instrumental in organizing Faith in Action Partners, an interfaith effort to help hurricane victims. The purpose of this organization is to recruit churches of all denominations to sponsor families identified by Salvation Army as needing assistance in the resettlement process.


Catholic Charities of Omaha, NE (Updated Oct. 7) Catholic Charities is responding directly to the needs of evacuees that have arrived in the Archdiocese of Omaha. The agency is collaborating with several interfaith groups to coordinate welcome and help for evacuees for the next several months.

Catholic Charities is participating in Catholic Charities USA's Operation Home Away from Home and has identified 27 units of housing for evacuees. The agency has established an email-based network of parishes and schools throughout the archdiocese to keep in communication about the evolving situation and coordinate offers of assistance.

Catholic Charities has contracted with the Information and Services Network to provide evacuees who have a high risk of being homeless or near homeless with specialized case management services for the next several months. Food pantries have modified their requirements to allow evacuees up to six pantry orders before the end 2005.


Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada (Oct. 2) In the past two weeks, over 2,400 hurricane survivors have passed through the doors of Catholic Charities' Fertitta Community Assistance Center to receive hot meals, clothing, and basic human necessities. They have also found a rapidly assembled crisis taskforce under one roof, with representatives from American Red Cross; Clark County Social Services; Clark County School District; Clark County Health District; Clark County Housing Authority; North Las Vegas and The City of Las Vegas Housing Authorities; HUD; Nevada Mental Health; Nevada Power; Southwest Gas; RTC; Social Security; Veterans Affairs; Nevada Job Connect; FEMA; and United Way of Southern Nevada.

These efforts, combined with the 24 social services that are routinely offered by Catholic Charities, have made accessing aid much easier for storm survivors.

However, the magnitude of need quickly outpaced the Fertitta Center's capacity to handle the growing numbers of new arrivals and donations. In search of a larger facility to warehouse and distribute donations, Catholic Charities contacted the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and a 10,000-square foot warehouse located near the Las Vegas Convention Center was donated.

Other critical support came from the Nevada Benefits Foundation, which showed up with dozens of volunteers and hundreds of needed items. The City of Las Vegas also granted $25,000 toward the relief effort.


Catholic Charities Diocese of Paterson, NJ (Oct. 31) Since early September, Catholic Charities Diocese of Paterson has been aiding the evacuees from Hurricane Katrina impacted areas in multiple ways. As soon as evacuees arrived in northern New Jersey, they were referred to Catholic Charities Disaster Response and Emergency Services. Clients met with a case manager who assessed their needs, provided direct cash assistance and advocated for them with Red Cross and FEMA. Most clients have been staying with family although some were placed in hotels by the American Red Cross. A Home to Home Program was communicated through out the Diocese with many people responding with offers of their homes. In addition, many parishes have initiated "twinning programs" to provide direct relief to specific parishes in the impacted areas. Currently, twenty two families including thirty two children are receiving case management services.

As evacuees are deciding to remain in northern NJ, Catholic Charities, Paterson Diocese has been instrumental in accessing apartments and other housing sources. Families have received assistance with furniture, food, clothing, cars or car rentals, gas, job searches and counseling referrals. Catholic Charities has a collaborative working relationship with the local county offices for disaster response, voluntary organizations active in disaster and other social service providers to optimize the local services available to the evacuees. In addition, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Paterson, sent multiple trucks of furniture to Texas and other supplies to the directly impacted Hurricane Katrina areas in Louisiana and Mississippi. Resources related to volunteer training, a comprehensive disaster manual called "Come Together" with information on coping with disaster were also provided to Catholic Charities in Arkansas for an extensive training program in that state. Almost two months since hurricane Katrina come ashore, many new clients continue to come to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Paterson where each one is given a chance to have their story heard, they receive immediate help as well as hope for a new beginning.


Catholic Charities of Central New Mexico (Sept. 12) The Albuquerque agency has purchased beds for more than 100 evacuees who arrived in the community The City of Albuquerque found apartments for them. Catholic Charities purchased beds and linens and set them up in the apartments. The staff is working closely with the African American Ministerial Alliance, which is delivering food boxes collected by the local food bank. Catholic Charities opened a warehouse and is collecting furniture and household goods from parishes and the general public. Agency staff will assist the Red Cross with follow-up case management and counseling, job placement and housing assistance, including for secondary arrivals.


Catholic Charities of Albany, NY (Oct. 2) Catholic Charities has sent four professional case managers to Baton Rouge, LA, to help local Catholic Social Services and Catholic Charities of New Orleans staff with relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Catholic Charities of Buffalo, NY (Oct. 24) The agency has been working primarily with the Red Cross, Salvation Army, the Buffalo Urban League and the County of Erie to serve the more than 600 evacuees known to have arrived in the area.

Five Catholic Charities' staff members, all of whom have been trained as part of the local Metropolitan Medical Response System, are responding to a request for assistance at Catholic Charities of Beaumont, Texas.

The agency has received offers from 15 people who wish to donate housing for evacuees. Catholic Charities is participating in a reception center with the Red Cross where evacuees receive assistance and linkage from various agencies as appropriate. The agency is providing such supportive assistance as linkage and referrals for clothing, housing and household goods, and counseling. In addition, the agency's Immigration and Refugee Assistance program is accepting refugee families who were originally scheduled to settle in the Gulf Coast area.

The Diocese of Buffalo in total has received contributions totaling $1,179,130.05 for Catholic Charities USA.

Catholic Charities of New York, NY (Oct. 27) The agency is focusing its Hurricane Katrina assistance on supporting local Catholic Charities in the affected Gulf Region and on providing short- and long-term assistance to evacuees who have come to the New York Metro region. In cooperation with the Brooklyn Diocese, Catholic Charities New York sent a team of 10 staff to support and expand the relief efforts of Catholic Charities in Houston, which is helping thousands of evacuated families begin to rebuild their lives.

In New York City, Catholic Charities is helping staff of the City's Disaster Assistance Service Center, which opened on Sept.15. This center will address the needs of those displaced by Hurricane Katrina, including short-term housing, clothing, and financial recovery. Catholic Charities New York has responded to a request by the New York City's Office of Immigration Affairs, by assigning immigration specialists and attorneys to the Disaster Assistance Service Center. Catholic Charities New York is also playing a leadership role in the ongoing planning and coordination of the New York Human Service community's response to Hurricane Katrina. The New York agency has raised over $300,000 for Hurricane Katrina relief.


Catholic Social Ministries of Raleigh, NC (Sept. 19) The agency has been working closely with national Catholic organizations in responding to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. The city of Raleigh is providing shelter to about 350 evacuees. In addition, many more people fled to the area on their own and are living with family and friends. The Catholic schools in the diocese are opening their doors to any student from the impacted area and are waiving tuition costs. At least 10 students are enrolled, with five of them at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh. More are expected to enroll.


Catholic Charities of Cleveland, OH (Sept. 28) Several local employees of Catholic Charities of Cleveland will be traveling to the Gulf region within the next several days to aid in disaster relief efforts. Over two dozen case management and clinical workers have been available to respond to the call for assistance and that call came on Tuesday from the Catholic Charities USA. Initial teams will travel to relieve those currently providing counseling and other support services in Dallas and Houma-Thibodaux.

Locally, Catholic Charities has provided financial, counseling, and housing assistance to over 25 families who have evacuated to Northeast Ohio.

Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley, OH (Oct. 27) Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley is serving 29 families from the Gulf Coast. The families are seeking assistance with resettlement and long-term housing. The local Red Cross has ended their response and is now referring all families to Catholic Social Services.

Catholic Social Services is working with a group of churches to serve "One Family at a Time". The agency provides assessment and case management from families and the churches will obtain the housing, furniture and other household items, and work with the evacuees to find employment.

Catholic Social Services of Southwestern Ohio, OH (Oct. 31) Catholic Social Services of Southwestern Ohio (CSS) is assisting 90 families displaced by Hurricane Katrina with housing, job placement and educational assistance.

CSS of SW Ohio's sister office in Springfield sent down two semi-tractor trailers filled with food from its First Harvest Food Pantry. Donations by the local parishes and individuals continue to arrive daily at the CSS main office in downtown Cincinnati.

Catholic Social Services of SW Ohio is coordinating the collection efforts for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Cash donations have topped the $1 million mark for the people and the communities ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and will be forwarded to Catholic Charities USA.

Catholic Charities of Youngstown, OH (Nov. 04) The agency has raised over $456,000 to date for immediate and long-term recovery efforts in response to Hurricane Katrina for Catholic Charities USA's 2005 Hurricane Relief Fund. Catholic Charities is also participating with the national Catholic Charities USA "Home Away from Home" project to help respond to the possible relocation needs of those families/persons displaced by the hurricane.

Catholic Charities of Youngstown has also participated in local collaborative efforts to assist evacuees who have relocated to the Youngstown Diocese. Catholic Charities has provided help with security deposits, first month rent, and advocacy on behalf of evacuees.


Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City, OK (Oct. 24) The agency is participating in coordinated community effort to ensure that the needs of affected victims are met. For the first few weeks following the disaster, the agency placed a case manager at Victory Center in Oklahoma City to assist with the first arrivals.

When Oklahoma City opened the One-Stop Center, agency staff and volunteers conducted intake on some 465 cases (more than 1200 people).

Catholic Charities is now providing case management services for long-term recovery to anyone affected by Hurricane Katrina. This includes helping people relocate, establish a new home, navigate the system of applying for benefits, job search, financial assistance, etc.


Catholic Charities of Portland, OR (Oct. 4) Catholic Charities has established a Disaster Relief Team to assist more than 600 hurricane victims who have fled to Oregon. Additionally, the agency sent two disaster relief advocates to Catholic Charities of San Antonio, TX, to help the Texas agency serve some of the thousands of victims who evacuated to San Antonio. Approximately 30 of the people they assisted have chosen to relocate to Oregon.


Catholic Charities of Erie, PA (Sept. 26) Working in partnership with the American Red Cross of Erie, Catholic Charities is helping to establish a home away from home for the 115 victims of Hurricane Katrina that are in the Erie area. A large collaborative effort, spearheaded by Catholic Charities, has developed a disaster response plan that includes four phases of relocation. In addition, they have developed an emergency provider contact list of all service providers that are willing to provide free services and/or are free resources. These services are used by case management teams to ensure families are receiving the support services needed and to help them negotiate funding, etc. Catholic Charities also has developed a housing survey database located on the Diocese of Erie Web site that is being used to track available housing in the area. Families are being placed in housing based on the survey results by the Red Cross and Catholic Charities case managers.

Catholic Charities Diocese of Greensburg, PA (Sept. 26) Catholic Charities is offering clothing, prescription allowances, food, and counseling to Hurricane Katrina victims recovering and relocating to the diocese. There are approximately 22 families in Westmoreland County staying with family and another two or three families in motels.

Catholic Charities of Pittsburgh, PA (Oct. 2) Following the disaster, Catholic Charities worked diligently to provide emergency and long-term assistance for the evacuees. As part of Pittsburgh's disaster response network, Catholic Charities has been interfacing with 60 parishes and local government agencies to help meet the many needs of those who have suffered substantial losses. This includes providing tangible assistance such as housing and household goods, cleaning supplies, food, diapers, and referrals for clothing. Catholic Charities is also offering counseling services to evacuees by providing rotating caseworkers at the Pittsburgh Project intake site.

Catholic Social Services of Philadelphia, PA (Oct. 2) Catholic Social Services is working directly with displaced hurricane victims now in the Philadelphia area, providing them with the help they need to get back on their feet. Individuals displaced from the affected area, now living with family members within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, have received assistance, information or referrals for emergency aid, housing and financial assistance.

For one individual, an immediate need was dialysis; Catholic Social Services made sure that the individual, who was also hampered by a language barrier, received adequate medical attention and an interpreter.

Three Catholic Social Services staff members-two counseling supervisors and one social work supervisor-are ready for deployment to Catholic Charities agencies in the Gulf Coast. All three have extensive experience in clinical counseling and case management


Catholic Charities of Charleston, SC (Updated Sept. 9) There are 600 evacuees being housed in Greenville, SC. The agency's regional coordinator, who is a Marriage and family therapist, is counseling and support to those in the shelter. Staff is busy compiling a database of families willing to "adopt" evacuee families, donations of comfort kits with toiletries etc., and case management services. The agency's client advocate from its Greenville office is also working with families, helping to find them housing and household goods. Staff is working closely with BonSecours St. Francis Hospital in Greenville, which is prepared to offer host homes to medical personnel coming in from other St. Francis hospitals in their network. In the PeeDee region of South Carolina, the office reports a large number of people who had evacuated on their own. They are now coming in for help with groceries, finding relatives, and household goods and baby needs. Housing is not a problem as there is a large supply of hotel rooms and vacation rentals now that it is off season in Myrtle Beach. The staff is finding that mental health issues are foremost. Emotional support is needed; the evacuees want to connect with and talk with each other.


Catholic Charities of Memphis, TN (Updated Oct. 2) Catholic Charities is just one of the local agencies working with other groups in the community to assist the thousands of people who have come to Memphis for refuge. Catholic Charities has assisted over 2,000 evacuees and is housing 110 evacuees at its St. Peter Home. The facility, formerly a residential facility for teenage girls, is housing evacuees in individual cottages. The evacuees have been given clothing, toiletries, and other essentials to begin rebuilding their lives. The courtyard provides a large play area for children. Community members worked together to quickly reopen the once shuttered facility-truly creating a home away from home.

Catholic Charities' shelter for Katrina evacuees was the beneficiary of the WNEP-TV, of Scranton, PA., Adopt-a-Shelter project. Three 18-wheeler trucks-packed with more than 300 new mattresses and box springs, and bedding and linens-came from Pennsylvania. Bed frames were shipped separately for Leggett & Platt, a Pennsylvania-based manufacturer. As they move into more permanent housing, the residents will be able to take the beds with them.

Catholic Charities of East Tennessee, TN (Updated Oct. 31) Catholic Charities of East Tennessee with offices in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Jonesborough has provided assistance to more than 530 individuals and families. As an initial response to the devastation, all three locations served as drop-off points for donations of bottled water, diapers and toiletries, which were then delivered to hurricane-ravaged areas in Miss.

The majority of those served came through the Knoxville office, which distributed nearly $40,000 in Wal-Mart gift cards to more than 400 evacuees so they could purchase gas, personal items, food, clothing and household goods. The Knoxville office also helped with the funeral expenses of a young mother and her baby who were tragically killed in a car accident when the family was traveling through Knoxville after being evacuated from their home. Three elderly evacuees are currently housed in Samaritan Place, Catholic Charities senior housing program in Knoxville. Working with the Compassion Coalition, a partnership of Christ-centered churches, the Knoxville office is currently supplying home furnishings and appliances for evacuees who have been placed in housing but lack the funds to purchase these items.

The Chattanooga office served approximately 70 people, providing counseling, housing placement and helping families resettle in the area. Among those were two extended families of 17. Chattanooga Family Service counselor, Jan Clark, helped find jobs for all 17 people in one family and, with the assistance of a local priest, found shelter for the other family. Jan is now working as part of a team organized by Catholic Charities USA in Beaumont, Texas to assist evacuees in that area.

In Jonesborough, 64 evacuees received some sort of assistance in the form of food, gas, housing placement, counseling, eyeglasses, clothing, toiletries and baby items.


Catholic Family Service of Amarillo, TX (Updated Sept. 5) The agency has received more than 125 persons from New Orleans into the Red Cross-operated mass shelter on Sunday and does do not expect anymore. After working yesterday with Red Cross registration, agency personnel began assembling a list of those in mass care who want to stay in Amarillo long term. The agency will begin long-term care on Tuesday. Cooperation among the city, Red Cross, and faith-based disaster responders has been excellent.

Catholic Charities of Beaumont, TX (Updated Oct. 10) After a temporary relocation to Houston following the evacuation from Hurricane Rita, Catholic Charities has reopened the Central Services Facility in Beaumont. Catholic Charities is very busy planning their role in the recovery of the community. The response will be a collaborative effort that complements the work of elected officials, government agencies, national organizations, and local social service providers.

Catholic Charities of Central Texas, Austin, TX (Updated Oct. 20) Catholic Charities of Central Texas is coordinating the response for the Diocese of Austin to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina who are displaced and now living in the Diocese.

Catholic Charities is partnering the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Office of Black Catholics. Donations received to date have allowed Catholic Charities and Diocesan ministries to serve Hurricane Katrina and Rita evacuees with:

- Groceries from the food pantry

- Funds for food, gas, or transportation

- Temporary lodging in hotels through donated hotel reward points

- Transportation for evacuees sheltered in the convention center moving to their new apartments

- Vouchers for clothing, furniture and household goods

- Crisis counseling

- Parochial school education at a Catholic school in the Diocese of Austin.

The agency is working collaboratively with other responders in the community and offering assistance to those who have no other place to turn to in a disaster.

Catholic Charities of Dallas, TX (Updated Nov. 7) Catholic Charities has trained and coordinated parishes of the diocese to respond to the many evacuees who wish to resettle in the Dallas area. Catholic Charities of Dallas has served over 9,366 individuals, including over 3,267 families. In a partnership with parishes, Catholic Charities of Dallas is providing case management, utility assistance, housing placement, emergency shelter, transportation, food distribution, and information and referral services to the victims of the hurricanes.

In October, five caseworkers from Catholic Charities of Rockville Centre, New York came in to assist with the case load. Since then, the agency has hired three full time case workers, two of which are victims of Hurricane Katrina. The case workers currently operate out of one of the agency's Hurricane Relief and Recovery Center. The caseworkers meet one on one with hurricane victims to determine their needs, help them apply for government services and disperse financial and other aid. The agency hopes that in the near future some of these case workers will be able to travel to the parishes and meet with each evacuee served by parishes.

In a collaborative effort with the Family Life ministers of the Dallas Diocese, the agency is holding a Steps Towards Healing Workshop, which is free to all hurricane victims and held in several different parishes. Steps Towards Healing will address how survivors of natural disasters deal with serious stress caused by upheaval and change. It will also focus on facing the grief of multiple losses caused by natural disasters. The workshop is currently scheduled to take place in four different parishes over three weekends.

Additionally, Catholic Charities is working with the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program to provide legal relief clinics to victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Area parishes are scheduled to host several more before the end of the year.

The agency has seen an outpouring of generosity from the parish community and from communities in other states. Catholic Charities has received two moving truck loads of furniture from Patterson, New Jersey Catholic Charities. Both truck loads of furniture and household goods were disperse free of charge to hurricane victims.

Catholic Charities of Dallas is also opening the doors to two of its Resale Stores each Saturday to allow hurricane victims to receive clothing, shoes, and house wares free of charge.

Catholic Charities Fort Worth, TX (Updated Sept. 28) Catholic Charities is responding to the needs of Hurricane Katrina evacuees by assigning case workers to work with individual families to assist them with such matters at applying for food stamps, registering with FEMA, applying for jobs, locating suitable housing, enrolling children in school, accessing financial assistance, and providing mental health services and counseling. Catholic Charities has opened case work for more than 200 families and expects to provide services to more than 500 families in the next six months. The agency is also assisting pregnant women from the affected areas with pre-natal counseling through our Healthy Start program and collecting and distributing toiletries, baby items, and new linens to hurricane evacuees.

Catholic Charities was the lead agency for the Back to School Roundup in August. Ten thousand back packs filled with school supplies, shoe, and socks were acquired for the August event. Four thousand remaining back packs and supplies are being distributed to needy children, including Katrina evacuees.

Catholic Charities of Fort Worth, Inc. has a long history of collaboration in the community. The agency is working in partnership with the faith-based community, including parishes and diocese, to receive client referrals and to accept funds and donated items for the benefit of Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

Carolyn Henry, vice president of special initiatives at Catholic Charities, is currently serving as the chair of the Tarrant County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). She organized the first meeting of the group on Friday, Sept. 2, after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. She has participated in daily conference calls with the Tarrant County Office of Emergency Management and is lending her expertise in working with the other VOAD members to ensure the long-term needs in this community are met.

Carolyn also serves with Ralph McCloud, Catholic Charities board member and former Mayor Pro Tem of Fort Worth, on the Supportive Services Group subcommittee of the City of Fort Worth Katrina Recovery Team. Ann Hull, vice president of programs, serves on the Mental Health Group subcommittee. In addition, Catholic Charities is collaborating with the Mental Health Connection and Mental Health Association to meet the mental health needs of the evacuees.

The agency is collaborating with the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program and with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through its Healthy Start Program. It is also partnering with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide housing in Catholic Charities-owned apartments for the elderly and disabled.

Catholic Charities of Galveston-Houston, TX (Updated Oct 27) Catholic Charities has dispensed more than $1.6 million and served 20,000 individuals in 5,000 families.

Catholic Charities assisted families with one or two nights stay and provided funds for food, gas, or transportation to help them reach their final destination.

After weeks of uncertainty and thanks to the tireless efforts of staff and volunteers, displaced families have successfully moved out of shelters and into temporary housing within days of the disaster with hopes of some day returning to their homes.

On October 17th, Catholic Charities moved to a long-term case management program. The program will be managed by staff members, local and national volunteers, caseworkers hired from New Orleans.

Then agency has received volunteer assistance from Catholic Charities across the country..

Catholic Charities assisted families with one or two nights stay and provided funds for food, gas, or transportation to help them reach their final destination.

After weeks of uncertainty and thanks to the tireless efforts of staff and volunteers, displaced families have successfully moved out of shelters and into temporary housing within days of the disaster with hopes of some day returning to their homes.

On October 17th, Catholic Charities moved to a long-term case management program. The program will be managed by staff members, local and national volunteers, caseworkers hired from New Orleans.

Then agency has received volunteer assistance from Catholic Charities across the country.

Catholic Charities of San Antonio, TX (Updated Sept. 9) Archbishop José H. Gomez, STD has appointed Steve Saldaña, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Antonio as the central coordinator for all of the diocese's volunteer and ministry efforts. He will work with the various agencies, departments, organizations and individuals in helping them to know how they can best help the evacuee effort. Catholic Charities of San Antonio is assisting at the evacuee sites by providing personnel to help process vital information of the people as they arrive. They have been responsible for processing that information, and insuring that evacuees are directed to where they can receive food and shelter. Catholic Charities has also been helping Texas Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon to coordinate her "Adopt-a-Family" initiative. She has encouraged individuals and churches to help individual families get settled and reclaim a sense of normalcy in their lives.

A new director of evacuee services will coordinate the family reunification effort as well as the Adopt-a-Family Program. Catholic Charities continues to collect donations of money, non-perishable food, personal hygiene items, toiletries, and disposable diapers.


Catholic Charities of Arlington, VA (Updated Sept. 6) The agency is expecting 500 evacuees. Agency staff has a list of host families and shelters to take in any family that comes to Northern Virginia.

Commonwealth Catholic Charities of Richmond, VA (Updated Oct. 12) Commonwealth Catholic Charities is assisting 100 individuals from 38 families to find a home away from home in Richmond. A similar number have been assisted with relevant information and referrals for key services. Individual families continue to call for assistance as do churches and others who provided assistance early but need guidance for long-term resettlement needs.

Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia, VA (Updated Oct. 10) Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia has aided 106 households, consisting of 167 adults and 146 children, with a wide variety of services. The agency has provided community resource information and connected evacuees with church, group, or individual sponsors that have opened their hearts to meet the variety of short-term needs. The agency reports that the long-term challenge will be in finding housing, jobs, and transportation for families wishing to permanently relocate to the area. The agency has begun to provide assistance with rental deposits and first month's rent.


Catholic Charities of West Virginia (Updated Sept. 6) The agency has accepted 500 individuals from New Orleans and the governor has indicated his desire to accept up to 3,000 people.


Catholic Charities of Spokane, WA (Updated Sept. 6) To respond to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Catholic Charities of Spokane, WA, is just one of the local Catholic Charities USA participating in Operation Home Away from Home. By working directly with diocesan parishes, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Spokane, will identify temporary housing options, assess their suitability, provide periodic review, and offer support services through its 15 programs throughout eastern Washington. Families or individuals interested in offering temporary housing are asked to contact their parish priest. Appropriate housing includes unoccupied apartments, rental homes, duplexes, condominiums, lake cabins, manufactured homes. Catholic Charities is not asking families to host others in their place of residence. The agency is also working with Catholic Charities USA to loan several staff counselors and case managers to areas in need.

Catholic Community Services of Western Washington, WA (Updated Nov. 01) Catholic Community Services has been responding to the needs of individuals affected by the hurricane in the Gulf Coast by providing resettlement services through its Refugee Assistance Program. CCS has served over 250 people with food vouchers, public transportation passes, employment assistance, clothing, and toys. The agency has also helped families move into permanent housing, utilizing local parish and CCS Family Center property as well as government housing sources.

Several families have received money from the Hunthausen Fund for apartments. The fund provides grants to families in shelters for first and last month's rent, plus damage deposits, and application fees. In addition, CCS Family Center volunteers and local parishes have raised funds for first and last month's rent and deposit for families and single individuals.

Catholic Community Services has also facilitated multiple Adopt-a-Family "sponsorships" with parishes and other volunteer communities assisting families in need. Volunteers have provided food, toiletries, and warm clothing, and have purchased new school clothes and supplies for school age evacuee children.

CCSWW has thus far sent four employees to the Gulf States: two went to Biloxi, Mississippi to organize volunteer crews to assist residents in cleaning out their homes; one employee assisted in Houston, Texas as a volunteer coordinator; and one helped in Baton Rouge, Louisiana as a children's mental health specialist. More employees will continue to assist the Biloxi Catholic Charities for the next several months.


Catholic Charities of La Crosse, WI (Updated Oct. 5) Catholic Charities has been working in partnership with the Red Cross and the Salvation Army in meeting the immediate material and psychological needs of evacuees who relocated to their diocese. It has utilized its emergency services and resettlement staff in its Eau Claire, La Crosse, Stevens Point, and Wausau locations to provide case management and emergency assistance.

Each evacuee family has been provided $50 gift cards for food, clothing, and gas. The resettlement staff has met with evacuee families to determine their basic needs and assess whether any further assistance or linkages to school, public health, W-2, Income Maintenance, public housing, or other community resources are necessary. Mental health professionals in each office have been available to meet with evacuees to allow them a chance to debrief from their experiences of trauma and to provide solace for their grief. Other services will be provided as necessary.

Catholic Charities Bureau of Superior, WI (Updated Sept. 20) Catholic Charities Bureau, which provides assistance to persons in need in 16 northern Wisconsin counties, is participating in the national Operation Home Away From Home program sponsored by Catholic Charities USA. Catholic Charities Bureau is collecting the names of individuals and families who are willing to provide housing for victims of Hurricane Katrina and is forwarding those names and contact information to a national database operated by Catholic Charities USA. Catholic Charities Bureau, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Agriculture's Rural Development programs, is also making housing available in affordable apartments in communities across northern Wisconsin. Catholic Charities Bureau is also providing direct financial assistance to persons and families relocating in northern Wisconsin as a result of the hurricane.