Roles and Tools for Funders to Promote Inclusion of People with Disabilities and Older Adults: Grantmaking
Policy Examples (Role 1)
Having experienced a series of budget crunches after the 9/11, tsunami and Katrina disasters, the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF), headquartered in Arlington, VA, came to the “cumulative realization that we were now stretched so thin for funding because we had not planned ahead and did not have policies in place” for emergencies and disasters, according to Rayna Aylward, MEAF executive director. The core elements of the policy that was subsequently developed by the executive director in concert with a designated company employee are:
- The company CEO and foundation executive director will jointly determine whether an emergency merits a corporate response. Criteria include:
- Impact on North America.
- Impact on company employees and operations.
- Desire of employees at multiple locations to make contributions.
- The timing and targeting of donations will depend on the needs of first responders, reconstruction and long-term recovery, and on whether critical assistance is being provided by national organizations or local community groups.
- For employee donations, limits will be set by the foundation officers. Beneficiaries will be selected in consultation with foundation staff and employee representatives.
- As appropriate, the foundation may provide emergency assistance grants to organizations serving people with disabilities.
Adapted from “Readying the Response,” by Rayna Aylward, Foundation News & Commentary (FN&C), vol. 47, no. 2, March/April 2006, and a June 6, 2006, interview with Aylward. For additional information, funders can contact Ms. Aylward at Rayna.Aylward@meus.mea.com.
The Quantum Foundation, dedicated to advancing access to health care and education for the residents of Palm Beach County, FL, makes annual grants totaling approximately $7.2 million a year, of which $1.5 – $1.7 million goes to services to older adults, many of whom have disabilities. Over the past four years of responding to hurricane-related disasters, Quantum developed the following strategies, built one after the other over time, which are evolving into an informal unwritten disaster-response policy:
- Initiated and funded (?) a countywide (?) plan for older adults, making sure to include all agencies that provide services for older adults and disaster preparedness.
- Disseminated a plan, which was completed in August 2005 (see www.trustedpartner.com/docs/library/000131/PBC-DP%20REPORT.092105.FINAL.pdf).
- Pre-approved community-based organizations (Salvation Army, churches, food banks) for receipt of Quantum grants in case of disaster — providing for immediate distribution of funds after disaster (only one instance of abuse reported).
- Authorized existing grantees in advance of potential disasters/hurricanes to make budget changes as needed for food, housing, health care supplies and so forth, knowing Quantum would replace moneys after event.
Flexible Practices Examples (Role 1)
The John A. Hartford Foundation (New York, NY) has two highly focused program areas: (1) academic geriatrics and training, and (2) integrating and improving services for older adults. Due to its narrow funding focus, the foundation makes grants primarily by invitation but accepts letters of inquiry to begin the process of selecting grantees.
Having made a highly successful grant to the Council of Senior Centers and Services of New York City, Inc. (CSCS) to create the “first-ever disaster guide for senior day services providers,” which has since been nationally promulgated, the foundation’s trustees asked the program staff to develop a way to respond to emergencies and disasters without developing a formal policy. The result is an unofficial practice by which program officers contact their grantees in the areas where disasters are likely (in the case of hurricanes, for example) or have actually occurred to determine their needs and the need of their surrounding area. For the most part, this outreach is primarily to learn of long-range needs, although the foundation did provide immediate grants to two past grantees whose disaster response had already been developed. The major results of the staff outreach effort after the hurricanes of 2005 are two grants that the staff has helped craft: [Insert descriptions once grants are authorized].
Jim O’Sullivan, senior program officer at the foundation, notes that flexibility was required to balance four variables: the needs created by disasters of a certain magnitude; the location of the disaster; program goals; and geographical areas. The two grants noted above are aging-related, but they do not fall under the stated program areas of academic geriatric and training and improving services. However, the grants do meet the growing need to prepare for and respond to the needs of older adults in disasters, and they “meet the Hartford Foundation’s ideas of good proposals and strong grantmaking.”
For more information, funders can contact Jim O’Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following 9/11 and throughout 2003, The New York Community Trust (NYCT) made a total of five disaster-related grants to the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY). The first four grants were made under the auspices of The September 11th Fund and focused on providing services and advocacy for people with disabilities affected by the terrorist strike. The September 11th Fund was established on the day of the terrorist attacks by The New York Community Trust and United Way of New York City to meet the immediate and long-term needs of victims, families and communities. The first grant was issued in October 2001 for $232,000 to meet the emergency needs of people with disabilities, including people who became disabled as a result of 9/11, and focused on relief efforts. CIDNY used the initial award to develop a guide for including people with disabilities in disaster relief and preparedness, conduct outreach to a variety of mainstream organizations such as the Red Cross, and to conduct other coordinating activities. During the grant, however, CIDNY had to shift some of the funds designated for outreach to meet more pressing case management needs. From this and other such instances, The Trust learned to make the activity categories for disaster-related grants broad enough to encompass changing needs and to allow for modifications, realizing that one cannot predict beforehand what the exact need is going to be.
For more information, funders can contact Irfan Hasan at email@example.com.
Collaboration Examples (Role 2)
The National Council on Disability (NCD) released a report on including people with disabilities in emergency planning, “Saving Lives.” According to the report, because effective disaster response always takes place locally, the challenge for emergency management professionals is to integrate the skills and knowledge of nonprofit organizations into emergency service plans and strategies and connect nonprofits to the local government. While clearly local, state, regional and federal government agencies play a major role in disaster planning and response, traditional government response agencies “are often ill-equipped to respond to the needs of vulnerable populations.” NCD also notes that a network of collaborating organizations is needed because “the social services network for people with disabilities is based on categorical needs and therefore is fragmented. As a result, it is not easy to make this network fit into a network to provide general services. No single specific-needs system exists, and agencies that provide services to a particular group of people often are unaware of agencies with similar missions for other groups. Emergency managers need to recognize, recruit, encourage, and provide funding and incentives so that CBO’s [community-based organizations] can participate in disaster preparedness and relief.” www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2005/saving_lives.htm#disasters (Part III. Role of Community-Based Organizations Recognizing the Value and Talent of CBO’s in Disaster Activities)
The Triad Alliance in San Leandro, CA, was developed to ensure that high-risk clients do not fall through the cracks during the response and recovery phases of an emergency. The “triad” consisted of the City of San Leandro Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters (CARD) and nonprofits in the region.
- The City of San Leandro emergency services division represents the city in alliance matters and activities and coordinates emergency response and recovery efforts among city government, school districts, business, nonprofits and special districts.
- CARD is a nonprofit organization founded with the support of the American Red Cross and United Way as a result of gaps in meeting the needs of vulnerable populations during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. CARD has received local, state, national and international recognition for its model of coordinating disaster planning for at-risk populations.
- Nonprofit organizations form a direct link to their clients — the community’s vulnerable population — their clients. Two CBOs are selected as lead agencies to represent the city’s CBO community. These agencies have the experience, knowledge and skills necessary to serve their clients. This unique confluence of know-how, understanding and expertise becomes an invaluable resource during the response and recovery phases of an emergency or disaster, helping the city to create a more responsive and effective emergency strategy.
Collaboration Example 2: New York Community Trust 9/11 Grants to Center for the Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY)
After 9/11, an overall comprehensive case management group of service agencies was developed in New York City. If an agency focused on a special population, it would take on the case management needs of that group. CIDNY was part of that group and took on the case management of people with disabilities as well as serving as a resource on disability issues to other providers. In its role as operator of The September 11th Fund, The New York Community Trust made three grants ranging from $44,000 to $230,000 to CIDNY for case management for people with disabilities. From its own funds, the trust also made a small grant that helped CIDNY document critical issues around emergency preparedness and response and for people with disabilities.
Before September 11, CIDNY had no relationships with FEMA, the Red Cross or other local, state and federal assistance agencies. Now these organizations are beginning to realize that the independent living community has a responsibility to educate and work with these agencies on an ongoing basis. According to the National Council on Disability’s report “Saving Lives,” an important lesson learned by disability organizations involved in 9/11 response was not to assume that emergency management personnel have the knowledge or the resources to provide all the necessary services to people with disabilities.
The Quantum Foundation engaged the local legal aid organization in Palm Beach County to help nonprofit organizations, including those serving older adults, apply for FEMA grants after disasters. According to Quantum’s Tim Henderson, this collaboration has been very successful. He notes that FEMA is more likely to approve grants to nonprofits who have received legal assistance and/or advocacy from a legal aid organization.
Inclusiveness Examples (Role 3)
Inclusion Example 1: Disability Funders Network Screening Tool
In April 2005, NCD found little evidence of the Department of Homeland Security grants program encouraging potential grantees to integrate disability and access issues. NCD offered the following “disability-specific indicators” for evaluating inclusion of disability in emergency preparation and disaster relief proposals. The “Proposal Selection Criteria” are a list of disability-related criteria that NCD recommends the Department of Homeland Security consider when evaluating proposals:
- Deal with the communications, evacuation, transportation, physical access and health needs of people with disabilities.
- Form partnerships among first responders, emergency planners and people with disabilities to ensure that accurate training information and usable services are developed.
- Increase communication and cooperation with the disability community.
- Appoint qualified people with disabilities to emergency planning committees, and as advisors, trainers, contractors, consultants and project staff.
- Educate people with disabilities and activity limitations about what they can do to be prepared for any type of emergency.
- Assist localities in reviewing and, where needed, creating disability-specific policies and regulations.
- Integrate new and updated disability-specific training content into training and preparedness materials.
- Follow policies on procuring and buying accessible products and services.
- Work with community-based organizations (CBOs)
“Saving Lives,” National Council on Disability, Part IV, Grant Program: www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2005/saving_lives.htm
Inclusion Example 3: Mainstream Organization — DFN Rapid Response Fund Grant to Habitat for Humanity of Walton County, FL
As participant and fiscal agent for the Walton County Hurricane Coalition, Habitat of Humanity of Walton County received a DFN grant to support the efforts of the coalition to build transitional housing for families in Pearlington, MS, a small village “adopted” by the coalition. Together with its partners — a construction company, community volunteer organizations, local churches and individuals — the coalition raised $300,000 and rebuilt 16 units by September 2006. DFN funds supported work on 6 units for people with disabilities that were compliant with American with Disabilities Act standards. This was particularly important because many of those people with disabilities served in this program were unable to use the trailers provided by FEMA because of mobility considerations.
For more information, contact Ronnie McBrayer of Habitat for Humanity at 850-835-0067 (www.waltoncountyhabitat.org) or Kim Turner of the Walton County Relief Coalition at 850-231-3209 (www.onehouseatatime.com).
Inclusion Example 4: Including People with Disabilities in City Disaster Planning Example — City of Houston
Well before 9/11 and the Gulf hurricanes, advocates and experts were making recommendations about how to address the many failures of our preparedness, relief and recovery systems to serve disabled people. In some places — Houston, TX, for example — those recommendations have been incorporated into city plans. Inclusive planning helped save lives and speed recovery in the Houston area after Rita hit. Lex Frieden, a power wheelchair user and long-time resident of Houston, has lived through many major storms and lost his house in 2001 during Tropical Storm Allison. Familiar with both national policy and local realities, Frieden — chair of the National Council on Disability (www.ncd.gov), an independent federal agency — participated in the planning that made Houston’s experience with Rita the opposite of New Orleans’ clash with Katrina. His input into Houston’s planning efforts began in city meetings open to the public, which were then supplemented by discussions held by the Houston Mayor’s Office on Disability with members of the city’s disability community. Because of this type of planning that involved people from the disability community, Houston has a paratransit system with over 150 vehicles that were used to evacuate people during the three days before the hurricane hit. In addition, city buses, all of which are accessible, were diverted from their routes to pick up people with disabilities.
Argoff, Jeanne and Harilyn Rousso, “Hardest Hit and Least Protected,” Foundation News & Commentary – Special Issue on the Gulf and Atlantic Storms, Nov/Dec 2005, pp. 34-5.
Inclusion Example 5: Including Disability Organizations in County Planning — INclusion Network, Hamilton County, OH
The INclusion Network has been the hub of Cincinnati’s efforts to include people with disabilities in all aspects of community life since 1993. The network’s emergency preparedness and response activities grew naturally from its larger efforts to assist Cincinnati businesses, government agencies and nonprofits to ask about what is being done to include people with disabilities as customers, coworkers and community participants and to provide reviews and training to facilitate the community’s move toward implementing inclusive practices.
As part of its communitywide, voluntary Inclusion 2000 Self Study process, the network incorporated questions about emergency egress and rescue assistance. After September 11 many more organizations, including the company managing the building that houses the INclusion Network, began to ask for assistance in preparing to meet the needs of co-workers and customers with disabilities in emergency situations. Early in 2006, the Hamilton County General Health District’s assistant director contacted the network to ask for assistance to ensure that people who have disabilities and the organizations that support them are included in the county’s emergency planning and preparedness efforts.
As the result of this initial contact, the INclusion Network and the county’s General Health District formed a partnership to facilitate a regionwide effort, the Emergency Preparedness Collaborative (EPC). The EPC now includes more than 30 representatives of government, nonprofit service providers, emergency response organizations and communications networks. Several EPC members are persons with disabilities or have family members with disabilities. The collaborative is divided into three subgroups, each of which conducts research, develops materials and resources, and formulates recommendations for community strategies to address the needs of its members with disabilities. The subgroups cover:
- communication access,
- transportation and evacuation, and
- sheltering at home, in public spaces like schools and workplaces, and in designated public shelters.
The EPC is currently implementing a survey developed by the communications subgroup to identify agency-initiated preparedness efforts and community resources, and it plans to use the survey findings coupled with the subgroups’ recommendations to build a list of action steps toward preparedness.
Lessons Learned for Protecting Older Persons in Disasters, a report produced by AARP, following an invitational conference held after the 2005 hurricanes, notes that older people are also underused resources in disaster planning and response. The report states that “experience and judgment, which increase with age, are important attributes when responding to crises. Thus … better use should be made of (seniors’) talents and skills; for example, in identifying the most vulnerable in their neighborhoods, taking on direct disaster relief roles, and helping to manage and coordinate services in shelters. (See Lessons Learned, 2006, p. 18.)
Inclusion Example 7: Including Representatives of Aging/Disabled Organizations in County Planning — Quantum
Disability/Aging-Specific Funding Needs Examples (Role 4)
As the independent living center closest to the World Trade Center, CIDNY became a leading source for case management and disaster response for people with disabilities affected by 9/11. It also was a source of information on disability issues for other private and public agencies participating in the recovery effort immediately after the disaster and in the months and years to follow. According to a “lessons learned” publication funded by The New York Community Trust, CIDNY reported that its “small staff was stretched to its limit by the addition of so many new consumers with urgent and complex needs. Volunteers were soon recruited, along with a dedicated coordinator, to manage CIDNY’s disaster recovery efforts, including the logistics of storing and distributing an outpouring of donated assistive equipment and medical supplies. Several new counselors were hired, and other staff diverted much of their time to counseling and other activities.” Lessons Learned from the World Trade Center Disaster: Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities in New York, CIDNY, 2004, pp 6-7.
CIDNY quickly developed a Disaster Relief Services Program, which consisted of the following:
- Direct services, particularly case management including comprehensive situational assessment of needs such as health care, mobility, transportation, assistive technology, finances, employment and legal matters.
- Education, training and technical assistance to relief and other service providing agencies.
- Outreach to people with disabilities who did not come forward seeking help in the first weeks after the attack. Reasons included the increased isolation of people with disabilities, feeling unwelcome at mainstream agencies and not considering themselves to be “people with disabilities” despite needing services related to a disabling condition.
CIDNY received major funding from The September 11th Fund, founded by The New York Community Trust. In addition, the organization received funding from the Ethel Louise Armstrong Foundation, Lions Clubs International Foundation, Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation, Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation and the Robin Hood Foundation.
For additional information, contact Susan Dooha at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Small Agency Funding Example 2: DFN Rapid Response Grant to Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities in Jackson, MS
One of the first grants made by DFN’s Rapid Response Fund was to a grass-roots disability organization, the Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), which had “identified a large population of seniors and people with disabilities” in the Jackson, MS, area in dire need of services after Katrina. Many lost food, medication and supplies due to power outages. Coordinating with AARP, a local church and other organizations, CCD used the grant to meet the immediate food, housing repair, medication and supply needs — including the provision of emergency supply kits. By November 1, 2005, CCD had worked with over 600 families and was developing workshops and training on disaster preparedness procedures, including which local organizations to contact to fill disaster-related and other urgent needs. In addition, CCD reached out to the community at large to increase awareness of the Jackson senior and disabled communities “so they are not forgotten in the future.”
For additional information contact Mary Troupe at email@example.com.
CIDNY’s grants from The September 11th Fund and other private funders in part supported the organization’s participation in the United Services Group (USG), a coalition of disaster relief and service-providing agencies that met periodically to share information, discuss policy and plan actions. CIDNY’s participation in this coalition enabled the center to inform other agencies about disability issues through outreach materials, responding to direct inquiries from other agencies, offering education and training workshops for agency personnel and assisting them in integrating materials on disability awareness and the impact of having a newly acquired disability into their own training and orientation programs.
Lessons Learned from the World Trade Center Disaster: Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities in New York, CIDNY, 2004, pp. 13-14.
Small Agency Funding Example 4: Funder Comment — Kathy Whelply of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region
“I cannot emphasis how important it is for funders to provide financial support for nonprofit leaders to participate in planning efforts. It is critical because this work is incredibly time-consuming — meetings upon meetings upon meetings, charts and documents. There is a lot of process and bureaucracy involved in these planning efforts. One of the challenges for the nonprofit sector is they can’t afford to go to all the meetings or take the time to read all the materials. They can’t afford to play that influential role unless someone is paying them to do that. It is really important for grantmakers to support just their participation in these task forces and meetings. It is time-consuming, but if you are not at the table then you can’t influence.” [personal interview, Sept. 6, 2006]
Since the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, Whelply and The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region (CFNCR, www.cfncr.org) have been central players in the efforts of funders, nonprofit organizations and government agencies to develop a coordinated response capability to emergencies and disasters. Recognizing that the nonprofit community has not traditionally been at the table with government to work on preparedness and planning issues, CFNCR convened a task force one year after 9/11 to remedy that situation. The convening kicked off the Grater Washington Task Force on Non-Profit Emergency Preparedness, which has continued to work with the local Homeland Security and public emergency agencies.
In a meeting shortly after the Gulf Coast Hurricanes of 2005, task force members listened intently as Bill Swenson of the Disability Preparedness Center described how to avoid future tragedies — such as what happened to Benilda in New Orleans. Swenson said that emergency preparedness as it is now practiced often involves identifying impending disasters and preparing the public to fend for themselves. But, he noted, this is not enough for everyone, especially people with disabilities, whose personal planning may have to include reliance on a support network.
“The important links between individuals with disabilities and communities are the groups they are part of,” he says, “like their families, social groups and workplaces, and the advocacy organizations and service providers that work with them. Many of these are nonprofits. We need to approach emergency preparedness through community-based groups and institutions that are part of the lives and support systems of people with disabilities, and of most people in communities. That’s the way more people will be able to take effective action.”
Argoff, Jeanne and Harilyn Rousso, “Hardest Hit and Least Protected,” Foundation News & Commentary Special Issue on the Gulf and Atlantic Storms, Nov/Dec 2005, p. 37.
Equipment Notes and Examples (Role 4)
Equipment and Supplies Example 1: Equipment and Supplies Requested by Organizations Serving People with Disabilities and Older Adults
Items on the following list of equipment were specifically requested by disability nonprofits in the Gulf States in the aftermath of Katrina and Rita: www.disabilityfunders.org/kat-orgneed.html#whatneed.
Equipment and Supplies Example 2: DFN Rapid Response Fund Grant to Lutheran Social Services of the South, Inc.
A $5,000 grant from DFN combined with in-kind matching funds enabled Lutheran Social Services of the South (LSSS) of Austin, TX, to purchase four motorized scooters and over $2,000 of medical supplies, medical beds and chairs, shower stools and eye glasses for Katrina survivors in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Houston. LSSS sent DFN the following example of the “difference this funding has made” in the life of one individual, referred to as Gloria (actual name withheld to protect the client’s privacy):
“Gloria is a 72-year-old woman with significant mobility challenges. Before the hurricane, she lived independently in New Orleans and had the medical equipment she needed in order to maintain her independence and quality of life. Due to her mobility challenges, Gloria was unable to evacuate on her own before Katrina hit. Although Gloria was eventually safely evacuated from the city, she lost all of her medical equipment — including her wheelchair — to the flood waters of Katrina. Gloria was evacuated to Houston, where she has spent the past year working to regain her independence. This has been a challenge for Gloria as she is unable to work and is on a very fixed income. Her income has also impeded her from purchasing a new wheelchair and other medical equipment post-Katrina in order to regain her quality of life. For a mere $495, made possible by the generosity of the Disability Funders Network, LSSS was able to assist Gloria in replacing her wheelchair and buying a bench for her shower. Gloria now reports a renewed sense of control over her lie and a sense of hope that she will be able to successfully continue down the path of recovery from hurricane Katrina. (From LSSS grant report.”
For more information, contact Cecilia Blanford, MAHS, grant manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and/or go to www.lsss.org.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and many evacuees’ loss of both their medications and their paper medical records, an online service was developed to help these individuals work with their health professionals to gain access to their own electronic prescription records, including specific dosages. With the assistance of federal, state and local governments, Katrina Health (www.katrinahealth.org) is operated by the Markle Foundation, several private businesses, participating chain pharmacies and national organizations of physicians and other health professionals. This secure site permits physicians and pharmacists to access basic medication histories to treat Katrina evacuees. Accurate medication histories are viewed as key building blocks of electronic medical records. The Katrina experience underscored the value of electronic data and the advantages of being able to secure them anytime, anywhere.
Lessons Learned for Protecting Older Persons in Disasters, AARP, 2006, p. 48.
Evacuation and Transportation Examples (Role 4)
The Center for Hazards, Assessment, Response & Technology (CHART) at the University of New Orleans received a grant to do community-based hurricane evacuation planning for New Orleans’ elderly. The project entails work with service provider agencies, advocacy organizations, city agencies, and elderly and disabled populations to document an action plan outlining (1) mobilization of non-governmental resources during an evacuation of the city’s elderly; (2) recommendations to the city for specific action; and (3) collaborative coordination of efforts that can be taken to accommodate this population in city and state evacuation plans.
For more information, contact Shirley Laska at (504) 616-3846.
Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Division of Long-Term Supports and Services, was funded to conduct the Find a Safe Place Campaign to encourage and assist low-income, frail older adults, who receive home and community based services through Medicaid, in making independent evacuation plans.
For further information, call Allison Vuljoin at (225) 219-0229.
Evacuation and Transportation Example 2: John A. Hartford Foundation Grant to the Florida Health Care Association
The John A. Hartford Foundation made a grant to the Florida Health Care Association to develop a new disaster planning guide and disaster training exercises. The disaster planning guide and software will contain role-specific guidance for nursing home staff as well as guidelines for administrators on decisions to evacuate. For more on this grant, see Training Example 5.
Evacuation and Transportation Example 3: Notes on Need for Accessible Transportation in Evacuation Planning and Procedures
June Kailes, author of the National Council on Disability’s Saving Lives report and numerous other pieces on emergency preparedness and disaster relief for people with disabilities and seniors, notes that accessible transportation is critical for some people with disabilities in evacuating and in evacuation and completing the recovery process. Citing a Washington Post survey of Hurricane Katrina evacuees in which 22 percent of the survey participants who did not evacuate reported they were unable to leave and 23 percent had to care for someone unable to leave. Kailes recommends that localities:
- Ensure that accessible transportation is planned for and in place for evacuation and as well as traveling to and from shelters, housing and disaster relief centers.
- People who require accessible transportation are evacuated first, and that such transportation is safe.
- Use the community’s and when needed adjacent community paratransit and public transit services.
June Issacson Kailes, Including People with Disabilities and Seniors in Disaster Services, June 2006.
Because of extensive emergency preparedness planning that involved people from the disability community, Houston has a paratransit system with over 150 vehicles that were used to evacuate people during the three days before Hurricane Rita hit the city. In addition, city buses, all of which are accessible, were diverted from their routes to pick up people with disabilities. Such planning made the experience of people with disabilities in Houston the opposite in many ways from that of disabled and elderly people in New Orleans and other cities affected by Katrina.
Argoff, Jeanne and Harilyn Rousso, “Hardest Hit and Least Protected,” Foundation News & Commentary – Special Issue on the Gulf and Atlantic Storms, Nov/Dec 2005, pp. 34-5.
Shelter and Housing Notes and Examples (Role 4)
Shelter and Housing Example 1: Notes on Sheltering — National Organization on Disability’s SNAKE (Special Needs Assessment for Katrina Evacuees) Report
The misguided impression that aging and disability issues is not of concern to general shelter managers was a stated assumption expressed by several shelter managers. There must be a realization that all shelters, emergency managers and disaster relief centers serve disability and aging populations even if not specifically articulated in their task assignment or mission statement. People with disabilities do have various disability-specific needs (e.g., transferring from wheelchair to cot, providing guidance to a blind person through crowds to the restroom) that are not burdensome and that shelter staff can be trained to perform. Many of these people do not need a medical shelters or segregated services. However, many of these people are in need of a variety of complex, and sometimes not well understood, community services to reestablish and piece segments of their lives back together.
SNAKE Report, p. 13
[ to come]
COMBINE JUNE AND ELIZ—FUNDING FOR ASSESSMENT POOL][JA5] [MAYBE ADD NOTES FROM JUNE TO SHELTER NOTES]
Shelter and Housing Example 4: Notes on Housing Needs — National Organization on Disability’s SNAKE (Special Needs Assessment for Katrina Evacuees) Report
Finding accessible, affordable, safe housing and communities has never been easy for people who live with mobility and activity limitations. Even before Katrina, there was a serious shortage of housing options for people with disabilities. Post Katrina, the task of finding temporary and permanent housing and communities will be even more difficult.
The immediate and long-term rebuilding process offers a unique opportunity to build, on an unprecedented scale, accessible communities and accessible and adaptable housing. This will help thousands of people with disabilities maintain or improve their ability to live independently and will enable hundreds of thousands of people, regardless of disability, to age-in-place as they acquire activity limitations. This includes the wave of baby boomers that begin turning 65 in 2006.
Lack of accessible housing opportunities for individuals with disabilities does and will continue to result in unnecessary and expensive institutionalization. Available data disclose that the costs of providing appropriate housing options for people with disabilities is well worth the investment because of the significant savings that results from enabling people with disabilities to live in the community, find employment and pay taxes.
The housing grants made by the DFN fund illustrate a wide range of housing issues faced by disabled hurricane survivors as well as the challenges for organizations providing assistance and the ingenuity applied to this persistent problem.
TBI Family Services is a nonprofit company with an annual budget of $500,000 that uses an extensive volunteer network to make existing homes accessible for people with physical disabilities. The RRF grant supported a project to identify people with disabilities needing housing assistance after the hurricanes and to involve local residents in assisting their neighbors by making temporary ADA-compliant modifications to FEMA-supplied trailers while planning permanent ADA-compliant home modifications to the permanent homes. In addition, TBI worked to educate communities on ADA-compliant construction standards, implementation of those standards where applicable, and housing accessibility for all people with physical disabilities in the areas served.
For more information, contact David A. Walsh, Jr. at email@example.com.
The Mid-Alabama Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities used grant funds focused on helping individuals either remain living independently or return to independent living after temporary stays in nursing homes. Priority was giving to those who moved from community living into nursing homes because of health problems caused or exacerbated by the evacuation or who were placed in nursing homes rather than shelters. The following statement from the Coalition’s proposal points out a serious problem that occurred frequently throughout the affected states:
“We have learned from experience that people placed in nursing homes ‘temporarily’ may remain there months and years after the initial crisis because transition is highly individualized, requires funds for start-up costs and is complex and time-consuming. Without a prompt and targeted response to their needs, evacuees could join the ranks of so many others for whom getting into nursing homes is easy and getting out is not.”
Funds were used for start-up costs for living independently, including first month’s rent, security and utility deposits, assistive technology and home modifications.
For more information, contact Daniel G. Kessler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The proposal submitted by Gulf Coast Teaching Family Services, Inc., also revealed the extreme need of the people with disabilities in need of service and the situation of the nonprofits in the region that dropped everything to help:
“We have many consumers with developmental disabilities who lost all of their possessions and their housing during hurricane Katrina.… Because of their disabilities, lack of family resources and poverty, they have little hope of securing housing to return to their communities. They also have no financial resources to refurnish their apartments … cannot afford first and last month’s rent and deposit to obtain new apartments. They also have no supplies, furniture or food to start over.
“While we have a large operating budget, our New Orleans office has suffered tremendous losses. We anticipate our New Orleans office will lose about $3,000,000 of its $6,000,000 operations … and possibly $2,000,000 in unemployment for staff.”
Funds were used to locate apartments, negotiate with landlords, assist in transportation for consumers from their temporary housing and other support needed to “set consumers up with their pre-Katrina lifestyle.”
For additional information, contact Mary Mitchell at email@example.com.
Providence Community Housing (Louisiana) was funded to restore, rebuild and/or develop housing units for seniors. Specifically, this project will impact 6,500 units of housing, including 1,150 affordable apartments for seniors, repairing and rebuilding 1,000 homes for seniors and disabled individuals, 500 units of supportive housing for seniors and special needs populations, 2,600 mixed-income apartments, and 1,250 affordable homes.
For more information, contact James Kelly, (504) 592-5683.
Training Notes and Examples (Role 5)
Preparedness and response training that both focuses on and includes people with disabilities and seniors has been cited as a major need by government and private experts and has been a major topic in numerous publications, reports and conferences. Training for how to plan for and respond to disasters intersects with a number of other topics in this guide, including training for shelter managers, training nonprofits how to prepare themselves and their consumers for disasters and what to do when a disaster occurs. FEMA, CDC and other federal agencies and national nonprofits have developed specialized training courses to meet these needs. However, first responders at state and local levels frequently are not aware of these courses and/or do not place a high priority on conducting these trainings. Private funders to fund nonprofits to make these already-developed courses available and encourage communities to conduct them.
National Organization on Disability’s SNAKE (Special Needs Assessment for Katrina Evacuees) Report
NOD‘s SNAKE report on disability needs after Katrina also identified the need for cross training. The report notes that disability and aging advocates and service providers need a quick orientation to emergency management organizations and structure, as well as to the roles of traditional recovery organizations such as FEMA and the Red Cross. Likewise, emergency managers need to strengthen their understanding of such easily performed disability and aging needs as transferring from wheelchairs, guidance through crowds for blind or partially sighted people and, more importantly, for such complex and often misunderstood community services to reestablish their lives after a disaster. Disability and aging organizations can help first responders understand which organization can offer what services under what conditions and to recognize the different capabilities, needs and circumstances of people with disabilities.
Carl Cameron, Center for Disability and Special Needs Preparedness
As the current awareness of special needs populations grows in emergency planning, it has been mandated by the Department of Homeland Security that states and local communities include special needs planning as a component of the overall mass evacuation planning. The awareness of special needs populations has expanded the needs of planners to understand special needs, and to include individuals with special needs in the planning process. Most surveys of emergency responders report that knowledge of differential needs is the number one concern. In addition, preparedness training also should be focused on the service providers, employers, and organizations that support special needs individuals to incorporate preparedness in the routine of the organization.
Emergency preparedness training for responders and planners has been an integral part of training activities for states and municipalities to ensure that the special needs of individuals with disabilities are understood and considered during rescue and response to both natural and man made events. This training has been sponsored by or conducted by DHS (FEMA), EPA, CDC, and other health and human service agencies at the national, state and local levels. This training also has taken place in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Louisiana and California, to name a few. National and local response training activities sponsored by emergency management agencies are also incorporating special needs training into their curriculum. Nevertheless, first responder organizations in many localities do not take advantage of the material that has been developed.
For more information, contact Carl Cameron: firstname.lastname@example.org.
John A. Hartford Foundation
The 2005 hurricane season revealed the complexity of disaster evacuation of frail elders in nursing homes and the inadequacy of prior planning. Nursing homes, unlike hospitals, were not incorporated into existing emergency response systems, were left with inadequate training and resources to care for their aged residents, were not incorporated into evacuation plans and were not prioritized for restoration of utilities such as electrical services. The inadequacy of planning for the evacuation and care of nursing home residents was clear in the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005, which resulted in the death of approximately 70 elders in 12 or more nursing homes during or in the days following the hurricane.
The John A. Harford Foundation, Grant Announcement
One aspect of the Hurricane Fund for the Elderly (HFE) grant to the Area Agency on Aging South Alabama Regional Planning Commission was to implement a Disaster Volunteer Training Program (contact Julie McGee (251) 433-654). Another HFE grant to Marshall County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, Inc., included recruitment and training of active seniors to provide disaster services to other at-risk older adults in the county.
DFN’s Rapid Response Fund grant to the Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) included training and workshops on disaster preparedness procedures [more to come from CCD].
For more information contact Mary Troupe at email@example.com.
DPC is one of two disability organizations to receive funding form the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to train local agencies and nonprofits to include “special needs” populations in their preparedness planning. Carl Cameron, DPC president, notes that it is crucial in this regard that community-based organizations not only understand how they can help their constituencies but that they “are connected to the larger community.” The DHS grant has funded the development of a readiness guide and training to help organizations complete self assessments and to encourage them to plan for emergencies in such a way that their emergency planning process is institutionalized into day-to-day organizational operations.
What is now needed and is not covered by the DHS grant, says Cameron, is “local training on a jurisdictional basis, which will assist local groups to plan, not just within their own organizations but across organizations within a community.”
For additional information, contact Carl Cameron at firstname.lastname@example.org. See also www.disabilitypreparedness.org.
FEMA has developed a two-and-a-half-day course, G197, “Emergency Planning and Special Needs Populations,” offered through state training officers to an audience of both emergency personnel and members of the “special needs” populations in the community. EAD Associates’ Elizabeth Davis — who combines experience in disability advocacy and emergency management/disaster response for people with disabilities, seniors and others in what DHS describes as “special needs population” — notes that the course is basically emergency management and special needs population planning, but is unique in that it was designed specifically to be taught to a class made up of 50 percent first responders and 50 percent from the targeted community, largely people from disability, aging and other “special needs” organizations.
“It’s free, it’s developed, it’s ready to go,” she says, “but very few state training officers are very familiar with the disability-specific course content. Therefore the course itself also suggests that, to be effectively delivered, the instructors should have a background in emergency management and special needs. Since there are few people with that combined expertise, the course allows for an instructor to bring in subject matter experts to teach a specific section or community members to discuss certain points. Often, states have to bring in instructors because there is a dearth of instructor base for this. So, we are doing a “train the trainer” model, which often needs private funding to be brought to the local level.”
Most federal funding, she continues, does not allow for support of personnel. “I am over-simplifying it, but basically you can buy all the lights and sirens, equipment … that are necessary, but when you talk about planning for persons with disabilities, special needs, aging populations, and others, if you don’t have a subject-matter expert on staff or you need to bring in a contracted expert, the funding does not allow for that line support.
To foundations and corporations, Davis says, “while you might not at first glance believe that this is your area of interest or responsibility, private funding is very often what is needed to get this essential training delivered at the local level. Because there are requests for accommodations that exceed a jurisdiction’s budget or their ability to deliver the course, it’s the perfect example of the need for public/private partnerships.”
For more information, contact Elizabeth Davis at email@example.com or go to www.eadassociates.com.
Training Notes and Examples 6: John A. Hartford Foundation Grant to the Florida Health Care Association
The John A. Hartford Foundation made a grant to the Florida Health Care Association to develop a new disaster planning guide, support the development and testing of disaster training exercises, and disseminate these tools across the country to nursing homes and assisted living facilities in order to reduce the deaths and suffering of frail elders during hurricanes and other disasters. The disaster planning guide and software will contain role-specific guidance for nursing home staff as well as guidelines for administrators on decisions to evacuate. Funding will also support the development and testing of training exercises to increase the readiness of nursing home staff in the event of an emergency. Finally, funding will also help disseminate these important tools across the country and will promote the incorporation of nursing homes and assisted living facilities into state emergency planning efforts so that authorities can recognize and respond to the unique needs of nursing homes during disasters.
For more information, funders can contact Jim O’Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rebuilding Service Delivery System Examples (Role 6)
Rebuilding Service Delivery System Example 1: John A. Hartford Foundation Grant to Rebuild Geriatric Medicine and Training Infrastructure in New Orleans
The impact of Hurricane Katrina on geriatric medicine in New Orleans was catastrophic. Health care facilities in the city were decimated when the medical district was flooded for a period of more than two weeks and at least two of the four hospitals in the area were condemned. Few facilities survived intact with personnel to provide care for elders, but University Hospital was partially reopened in June 2006 and a new facility will be constructed and open within the next five years. Moreover, the structure for training geriatricians in Louisiana has been completely upturned, with Tulane University permanently closing its geriatric medicine training program and Louisiana State University Health Science Center having to restructure, thus necessitating funding to help ensure the continuation of training programs to meet the needs of the state’s older population.
The John A. Hartford Foundation awarded a grant of over $500,000 to provide salary support for geriatric health care workers in New Orleans and to support the re-establishment of the geriatric medicine fellows program at Louisiana State University Health Science Center in the aftermath of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster. Most of the health care facilities in New Orleans were destroyed and medical personnel dispersed, leaving little qualified health care for elders, and academic training programs for geriatricians were upturned in the wake of the disaster.
This grant will provide funding over two years to augment the salaries of a nurse practitioner and two geriatricians to provide medical care at the University Hospital and affiliated nursing homes in New Orleans. Support will also be provided over four years to re-establish the geriatric medicine fellows program at Louisiana State University Health Science Center starting in July 2007, the state’s only program training geriatricians. It is expected that after five years and construction of a new University Hospital, a steady clinical income stream should be in place to sustain geriatric medicine service and teaching going forward.
For more information, funders can contact Jim O’Sullivan at email@example.com.
Advocacy and Legal Services Funding Examples (Role 7)
Advocacy, Inc., in Austin, TX, conducted outreach to identify and address the advocacy and legal needs of people with disabilities disaplaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Services included obtaining access to Medicaid and non-Medicaid services, focusing on assistive technology, durable medical equipment, accessible housing and special education services. DFN funds were used for interpreter services for clients represented by the organization.
For more information, Contact Patricia Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mississippi Center for Justice added an older-adult housing component to its Gulf Coast Katrina Recovery Office to provide legal advocacy and individual assistance in the area of housing for low income, minority and older adult residents. The project also involves systemic advocacy for mixed-use communities; strengthening public transportation to key agencies for older adults; and plans to ensure that older populations take advantage of all available federal and state funding sources.
For more information, contact Martha Bergmark at (601) 352-2269.
Communications Funding Examples (Role 8)
Communication is crucial in an emergency to provide initial warnings, specific directions on how to shelter or evacuate, and what personal items (like medications and life supports) to take. Emergency communication includes preparedness outreach, emergency warning or notification, emergency information and instruction, and recovery information. It is also important for members of the public, including people with disabilities, to be able to communicate effectively with first responders, other emergency personnel, and health care providers. Most disability targeted communication can be implemented as an adjunct to more general strategies. “Report to the New Mexico Department of Health, Best Practices Model, Including the needs of People with Disabilities, Seniors and Individuals with Chronic mental Illness in Emergency Preparedness and Planning,” April 2003, p. 21
The State of Ohio agencies responsible for disability and aging services and Ohio’s Developmental Disabilities Network developed the Be Prepared Kit. The kit is available in print and on the Web site of the Ohio Legal Services and contains several checklists to guide people with disabilities and seniors on how to prepare for disasters. In Ohio and elsewhere, foundation funding to disability and aging nonprofits for outreach and dissemination can help to get these materials into the hands of those who need them. To see a copy of the kit, go to http://olrs.ohio.gov/beprepared/beprepared.htm.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also has pages on its Web site (www.disabilitypreparedness.gov/ppp/index.htm) devoted to personal preparedness planning for people with disabilities and seniors. According to Carl Cameron of the Center for Disability and Special Needs Preparedness, however, “the government is not going to reach down into every locality, and that’s where foundations come in,” by funding the local nonprofits that do reach the grass roots.
Communications access enables effective communications with people who are deaf or blind or who have speech, vision or hearing limitations. It includes the use of written materials available in alternative formats (e.g., Braille, large print, disks, audio cassettes), and hearing-assistive technologies such as amplified phones, TTYs, and listening systems. Communication access also involves the use of auxiliary aids and services, when needed, such as sign language interpreters, CART (communication access real-time translation) readers, people to assist with completing paperwork and people to take notes. In addition, it includes accessible media such as Web sites, captioned and audio-described films and videos, videoconferences and public service announcements.
National Council on Disability “Saving Lives” Report, Part II; www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2005/saving_lives.htm
Disability-Specific Communications Funding Example 3: Interpreter Services for Gulf Hurricane Survivors
DFN’s Rapid Response Fund grant to Volunteers of America Southeast, Inc. (VOASE) included the provision of interpreter services to evacuees with hearing and/or speech difficulties. According to NOD’s SNAKE Report, “the most underserved groups (in shelters after Katrina) were those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Less than 30% of shelters had access to American Sign Language interpreters, 80% did not have TTY’s, and 60% did not have TVs with open caption capability. Only 6% of shelters had areas where oral announcements were posted so people who are deaf, hard of hearing or out of hearing range could go to a specified area to get or read the content of announcements. This meant that the deaf or hard of hearing had no access to the vital flow of information.” (NOD, 2005, pp 8-9)
For more information on VOASE, contact Sherry Atchison at email@example.com or go to www.voase.org.
Disability Specific Communications Example 4: Augmentative and Alternative Equipment and Services for Hurricane Survivors
One of DFN’s Rapid Response grants went to the United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (USSAAC), headquartered in New York City. USSAAC’S mission is to enhance the effectiveness of people who can benefit from augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) — both high technology (computer-based) and low tech (word/picture boards). During and after the Gulf and Atlantic Hurricanes, USSAAC used grants from DFN and other funders to hire an AAC specialist and outreach assistants to coordinate outreach, requests for assistance, offers of assistance, equipment and services, and client/equipment matches. All of the people served by this effort had severe disabilities, including “the inability to communicate needs, desires, feelings, concerns, etc., without AAC supports.”
For more information, contact Pat Ourand at President@Ussaac.org.
Disability-Specific Communications Example 5: Accessible Information in Alternate Formats Before, During and After Disasters
NOD’s on-the-ground assessment of Katrina evacuees noted that public emergency management agencies and broadcasters “continue to fall short in their responsibilities to modify their information procedures” (SNAKE Report, p, 12). While emergency relief agencies and broadcasters have primary responsibility for this communication, it is often the nonprofit organizations located at disaster sites that are the first line of communication with survivors.
The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, JM Foundation, JC Penney Company and Johnson & Johnson Foundation all provided funding to the National Organization on Disability for its Emergency Preparedness Initiative (EPI). EPI released a Guide on the Special Needs of People with Disabilities for Emergency Managers, Planners and Responders, which contains information how emergency managers, first responders and others can make their Web sites accessible, along with resources for doing so. See the appendix in the guide, which can be downloaded from www.nod.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.viewPage&pageID=1430&nodeID= 1&FeatureID=1034&redirected=1&CFID=13087567&CFTOKEN=62144734.
Interagency Communication, Coordination and Information-Sharing Example 1: Hurricane Fund for the Elderly (HFE) Grants
Serveral HFE grants have focused on the need for communication, coordination and information sharing among agencies. For example:
- The Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Commission Area Agency on Aging received an HFE grant to develop a plan for an Emergency Communication System to address needs of individuals over 60 in a 10-county project service area to encusre uninterrupted, vital services to vulnerable elders who are homebound and need health and social services.
For additional information, contact Merolyn Newsom at 334-682-4234.
- The Assisted Living Association of Alabama was funded to establish a secure, damage-resistant communication infrastucture for Alabama assisted living providers. A wireless voice/data communication system will facilitate evacuation reporting for senior housing facilities, and “piggy-back” on an existing system in use by the state emergency management agency. Ultimately the system will be backed by a Web-based system.
Contact Frank Holden at 334-262-5523 for additional information.
The Disability Funders Network Rapid Response Fund, created to respond to the 2005 Gulf and Atlantic hurricanes, encouraged collaboration and communication by asking on the application form if applicants planned to coordinate with other organizations, particularly relief organizations. The vast majority of the 25 grantees of the fund had, indeed, formed collaborative relationships. For example:
- Families Helping Families (FHF) of Acadiana, TX, assisted disabled evacuees of the Gulf Hurricanes by working with the United Way of Acadiana, the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council, Lafayette Consolidated Government and the U.S. Department of Labor to coordinate the delivery of short-term emergency needs, including medicine and other medical needs, as well as housing and other long-term resources. The two government agencies placed an evacuee — a parent of a child with a disability — in the FHF office to work with evacuees with disabilities.
For additional information, contact Yvonne B. Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.fhfla.org/acadiana.
- Exceptional Nurses, a grass-roots organization created by and for nurses with disabilities, requested funding from the DFN Rapid Response Fund to assist its members who were affected by the 2005 hurricanes. The $5,000 DFN grant — the only institutional funding received by this all-volunteer group of nurses from across the country — helped dozens of disabled nurses get their own lives back on track and resume their work of providing crucial nursing services to others. Lacking its own infrastructure, Exceptional Nurses relied on the Louisiana and Mississippi State Nurses Associations to publicize the availability of the funds to eligible nurses.
For more information contact Donna Maceady, Ed.D., ARNP, at email@example.com or go to www.exceptionalnurse.com.
- In the course of its Gulf Coast efforts to reach out to hurricane survivors with augmentative and alternative communication needs, USSAAC worked with a number of other organizations that received Rapid Response Grants such as the TK Martin Center in Mississippi, the Louisiana Technology Assistance Network (LANTAN) and the Louisiana Department of Education, as well as individual school districts and technology centers. In addition, USSAAC carried information about the needs in the Gulf to other national associations focusing on either assistive technology or communications disabilities and sent information about communication technology needs and the support available through USSAAC to disability organizations and other assistance agencies.
For more information, contact Pat Ourand at President@Ussaac.org.