When communities face disaster, United Way plays a key role. From ensuring our first responders can act swiftly, to leading long-term recovery, United Way has the experience, networks and capacity to address even the most devastating events. United Way's primary role in times of disaster is in long-term recovery, which can take 3-5 years.
Across America, 211 is a community’s go-to resource. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 211 specialists connect callers with the help they need. During times of disaster, 211 supports communities before and during disasters. That might be directing people to evacuation routes and shelters beforehand, or helping people get food, water and emergency supplies afterwards.
But we're in the community long after the first responders leave, focusing on interim- and long-term disaster recovery. It’s not a quick fix. For example, our Hurricane Katrina recovery team formally operated for 10 years at United Way of Southeast Louisiana. That experience enabled United Way to quickly activate relief and recovery operations in response to severe floods that hit the same neighborhoods just five months apart in 2016.
United Way raised more than $1.4 million after the 2016 floods in Louisiana, and those recovery efforts have reframed how nonprofit collaboration is approached. The provision of resources, volunteers, case management, construction services, and financial assistance to other local nonprofits has accelerated recovery and stability for many communities in Southeast Louisiana. This collaboration can be replicated, as we bring people and organizations together to build stronger communities all over the world.