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Emergencies can happen at any time to any organization. They can range from natural disasters to loss of crucial staff, damage to computer systems, and business interruption. Organizations in rural areas are at a disadvantage because these areas tend to lack infrastructure and adequate communication systems, have limited first responders and municipal staff, and have inadequate accessible and affordable housing for displaced families and individuals.
Is your organization ready for a disaster? Download HAC’s guide to Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery and start building a more resilient organization.
By Connie Wright
Hunkered down in a small brick church being battered by Hurricane Florence’s 100 mph-plus winds and rain, Neal and April Williams looked with dread at the images on their cellphones of the home they had evacuated. Their daughter, Arianna, age three, played nearby, unaware of the havoc the storm was causing.
American Red Cross
The Disaster Relief and Recovery Services provides information on staying safe after a disaster, checking your home’s safety, recovering emotionally, and recovering financially. The Emergency Resource Library offers tips and strategies for preparing, responding, and recovering from disasters like, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, and winter storms.
FEMA Assistance for Nonprofits
This website provides a program overview, trainings, fact sheets, and cost estimating tools.
FEMA Disaster Recovery Center
These accessible facilities and mobile offices are set up after a disaster to facilitate disaster recovery. Links are available to find assistance, apply online, and check the status of an application.
FEMA Individual and Households Program
This website provides financial and direct services to eligible individuals and households affected by a disaster, who have uninsured or under-insured necessary expenses and serious needs. It includes resources for temporary housing and housing repair.
Figuring Out FEMA
A pocket guide to help people applying to FEMA’s Individual Assistance program.
The Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program is a flexible source of funding that can be used to rebuild the affected areas and help with the recovery process.
The Community Development Block Grant Mitigation funds can be used to carry out strategic and high-impact activities to mitigate disaster risks and reduce future losses. The website provides program information such as notices, requirements, and best practices in one place.
HUD State Information
Disaster relief and emergency assistance resources are available for each state.
USDA-RD Disaster Assistance
The resource guide outlines USDA Rural Development (RD) programs and services that can help rural residents, businesses and communities impacted by disasters and support long-term planning and recovery efforts. Information is included about single-family housing loan borrowers, multi-family housing loan borrowers, Community Facilities loan borrowers, Community Facilities Grants, business owners, and Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants.
Navigating the Road to Housing Recovery
The step-by-step guide from NeighborWorks America and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation provides resources and steps to take for individuals and families affected by natural disasters. It provides general disaster recovery information, guidance and resources for those with a clear housing recovery goal, and guidance and resources for those still deciding on their housing recovery goal.
State and Local Emergency Services
This website from FEMA allows you to search for local services as does this website from Disaster Assistance Improvement Program. Every state has its own government agency that provides disaster and emergency assistance. Local governments may have emergency services agencies or may assign disaster assistance duties among a number of different agencies.
VA Disaster Assistance to Veterans
The brochure includes information on programs from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs including health, home loans, pension benefit assistance, and special adaptive programs.
Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Office of Emergency Management
The website displays essential VA emergency medical response and support services at the local, regional, and national levels to ensure the health and safety of veteran patients and their families, staff, and visitors, and continued delivery of VHA health care services.
By Ilene Jacobs and Christina Davila
Rural communities often confront disasters with limited resources and capacity. They may have little ability to prepare formally for natural disasters and lack sufficient affordable housing inventory or the basic infrastructure or local capacity to recover. Many rural areas are resilient in spirit and local effort, but focusing on this resilience can overlook the needs and the challenges they face. Communities, especially those in poverty, often have the hardest path to recovery.
Emergencies can happen at any time to any organization.
Is your organization prepared to respond?