Hurricane Katrina and Disability
In late August and into September 2005, many of us in the funding community were deeply disturbed and distressed by the widespread ravage and destruction caused first by Hurricane Katrina, then by Hurricane Rita, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to become refugees in their own country. As the evidence mounted, it became increasingly clear that Katrina and Rita did not affect everyone in their path equally. Those with the fewest resources and the greatest barriers to evacuation experienced the greatest losses. Among those who paid the highest price were people with disabilities. Many lacked the resources and/or accessible transportation to leave before the hurricanes struck. Once stranded, they faced difficulties making their need for rescue known. For those who were rescued, disaster services were often ill-prepared to meet their needs.
Having learned some painful lessons from the experiences of people with disabilities during and after the tragic events of 9/11, many government agencies, nonprofit organizations and private funders involved with disability issues responded to the challenges created by the 2005 hurricanes by rapidly organizing creative collaborations to address the needs of people with disabilities.
The Disability Funders Network was an active participant in many of these organizing activities, building on a project it began soon after 9/11 designed to educate funders about the emergency preparedness and disaster relief issues not only of people with disabilities but also older adults, recognizing the overlapping issues in these two groups.
The materials in this section of the DFN Web site are designed to provide an overview of the issues facing people with disabilities and older adults as the result of Katrina, Rita and other disasters, and to offer funders a variety of ways they can assist organizations helping people with disabilities by these disasters.
Note: Clicking on any of the links below will take you to a description of the organization’s efforts to assist people with disabilities and a link to its Web site. Although a few focus on specific needs, most of the organizations listed provide comprehensive relief services that cross many grantmaking categories.
- Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago
- Advocacy, Inc.
- Brookhaven Homes of Louisiana, Inc.
- California Foundation for Independent Living
- Coalition for Barrier-Free Living/Houston Center for Independent Living (HCIL)
- Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities
- Disabled American Veterans
- Easter Seals
- Exceeds Their Needs, Inc.
- Exceptional Nurse.com
- Families Helping Families at the Crossroads of Louisiana
- Family Voices
- Gulf Coast Teaching Family Services, Inc.
- LATAN (Louisiana Assistive Technology Access Network)
- Lutheran Social Services of the South
- T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability
- Mid-Alabama Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities
- National Council on Independent Living
- Seaside Community Foundation
- SpellCo Redevelopment Corporation
- The University of Southern Mississippi Institute for Disability Studies
- TBI Family Services, Inc.
- Volunteers of America Southeast, Inc.
- American Council of the Blind
- Lighthouse for the Blind in New Orleans
- Louisiana Center for the Blind
- Communication Service for the Deaf
- de l’Epee Deaf Center, Inc.
- Louisiana School for the Deaf
- National Association of the Deaf
- National Black Deaf Advocates
- Self Help for the Hard of Hearing
- American Association on Mental Retardation
- Families Helping Families of Acadiana
- National Autism Association
- National Autism Organizations
- National Down Syndrome Society
- St. Tammany ARC
- The Arc of Louisiana
- The Arc of the United States
- United Cerebral Palsy
- United Cerebral Palsy of Houston
- United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication
- Unlocking Autism
(including, but not limited to, neurological, neuromuscular, mobility, chronic health conditions)
- AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth and Families
- Children with Diabetes Foundation
- The Lupus Support Network
- Muscular Dystrophy Association
- National Hemophilia Association
- National MS Society
- SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) Support
- Spina Bifida Association of America
- United Spinal Association
- Wheelchair Foundation