Preparing for the Irreparable

September is National Preparedness Month, an important reminder to get your household weather-ready for the most active days of hurricane season. Its ruthless peak stirs anxiety at home as we watch our neighbors to the west await Harvey’s final toll and our neighbors to the east encounter Irma’s fury.

In both instances, the timeline for recovery is unknown. Rebuilding is a daunting task, even for those with extraordinary means, but it leaves a particularly wicked load on those struggling to get by before the storm.

We must understand the amplification of challenges individuals and families in poverty face after natural disasters. One hurricane threatens to erase all they’ve known. The means to rebuild are nonexistent. And those living in or near poverty before the storm are left with a sparse existence in its aftermath.

Here in Southeast Louisiana, nearly half of our families live in poverty or are considered ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) – living paycheck to paycheck and unable to save for emergencies – which is why United Way goes above and beyond in times of disaster to provide assistance. It also underlines the critical need to remain focused on our plan to eradicate poverty in Southeast Louisiana.

Our Blueprint for Prosperity is the greatest option for reducing the number of families who are left without a path to recovery after a storm, and United Way’s work to build a better, stronger Southeast Louisiana continues to be the most power tool for preparing our communities for disaster.

Michael Williamson
President and CEO
United Way of Southeast Louisiana