Hurricane Katrina to the Great Flood of 2016

Hurricane Katrina to the Great Flood of 2016
United Way Continues to Help with Emergency Grants for Tangipahoa

United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) was here before, during and after Hurricane Katrina eleven years ago.  And, with your continued support, we will always be here, as we are now, for the survivors of the August floods. United Way contributes to the stability of our region by gathering resources, providing volunteers and delivering financial assistance and human services. UWSELA established a flood relief fund immediately following the first reports of flooding .

UWSELA is awarding its initial phase of $120,000 in emergency grants to assist with flood recovery in Tangipahoa Parish where more than 7500 homes flooded as well as child care centers and businesses.

  • Tangipahoa Parish School System: $15,000 for various school and classroom supplies as well as uniforms.
  • Tangipahoa Council on Aging: $25,000 for a replacement van to serve seniors and to deliver meals.
  • Our Daily Bread Food Bank: $25,000 to purchase additional food and continue emergency operations for food services.
  • Regina Coeli Child Development Center: $15,000 to help staff and students to return the school to operational status.
  • St. Bernard Project: $25,000 to gut and muck out homes, nonprofits and small businesses.
  • HandsOn : $15,000 to gut and muck out homes, nonprofits and small businesses.

United Way will continue to distribute funds for:  immediate response efforts; long-term recovery efforts; and to fill un-met needs.  UWSELA will also provide grants to our community partners and other nonprofit organizations providing direct services to assist with recovery. In addition, we will support other response and recovery efforts, as determined UWSELA’s Board of Trustees, to support individuals and families affected by the flood.

Four days following the flood, UWSELA opened the United Way Warehouse in collaboration with The Daily Star and Tangipahoa Parish Government, at 725 S. Morrison, Hammond, LA  70401, for the collection and distribution of much needed relief supplies arriving from across the country.

UWSELA is also operating a flood relief donation center at its main office, 2515 Canal Street, New Orleans, 70119. More than a thousand people from all 50 states, the Virgin Islands and Canada have donated online, mailed flood relief supplies, or dropped them off at the UWSELA office.

“This is reminiscent of the outpouring of love and concern following Hurricane Katrina,” says Michael Williamson, president and CEO of United Way of Southeast Louisiana. “So many people from across the nation and literally around the world wanted to help. Because of their generosity, United Way was able to get to work even though 90% of our employees homes were damaged or destroyed and our main office was flooded.”

Immediately following Katrina, efforts were concentrated on the basics such as food, clothing, temporary shelter and medical support. Later, more complex needs were tackled such as critical mental health counseling, quality childcare so parents could go to work to support their families and after school programs to keep kids safe and off the streets.

In the past ten years, people in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes have been assisted nearly five- million times by United Way supported programs.

“Today, UWSELA has a goal to eradicate poverty in southeast Louisiana”, says Williamson.  “42% or nearly half the families in in our region are living in poverty or on the threshold of poverty. Just one harsh storm can push people over the financial edge. That’s why we have developed a Blueprint for Prosperity. We are strategically investing in programs, initiatives, collaborations and advocacy efforts to meet our community’s greatest needs.  We have a bold vision of equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and economically stable."