United Way, Red Cross team up to help Laura evacuees return home


Financial assistance available to help purchase gas, essential items

NEW ORLEANS – United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) and the American Red Cross of Louisiana are partnering together to provide financial assistance to help Hurricane Laura evacuees return to their home communities. 

“We are overwhelmed by the generosity and support from our partners at the United Way and Entergy,” said American Red Cross of Louisiana Regional Executive Joshua Joachim. “A disaster requires coordination and support by many entities to meet the needs of communities throughout the initial response and long into the recovery process. This financial assistance will provide residents with hope and allow us to help them navigate their new normal.”

Countless evacuees sought refuge in Jefferson and Orleans parishes following the landfall of Hurricane Laura. The American Red Cross and its partners are still engaged in supporting nearly 8,000 evacuees in hotel shelters in these two parishes, over five weeks since the massive storm made landfall.

Qualified households could receive up to $450 in immediate financial assistance to support them on their road to recovery.  

The Red Cross is using damage information that has been collected and verified through its government partners to identify qualified households. Households with major damage classifications will receive an invitation to complete an application through an email, text message or phone call directly from the Red Cross over the next several weeks. Households who fall into this category include those whose homes have been verified by the Red Cross, FEMA or another agency to have sustained major damage or have been destroyed.

The Red Cross will also work with partners and community advocates to reach people whose homes were destroyed or sustained major damage. This includes people who may face barriers to accessing disaster assistance such as people who do not speak English, are not American citizens or have difficulty accessing services. In these instances, applicants will be invited to apply over the phone with a Red Cross worker once an enrollment period is announced.

 “We are thankful for our partners’ support and the generosity of the people of Southeast Louisiana – many of whom carry painful memories of evacuation – for making this assistance possible,” said Michael Williamson, UWSELA President and CEO. “While we recognize this modest gesture won’t make these households whole again, we know these families will take comfort in the ability to get back to their loved ones in their communities and begin the rebuilding process.”

UWSELA’s $95,000 grant to Red Cross to fund the partnership was made possible through support from Entergy Corporation, the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana, LOOP, Greater New Orleans Foundation and generous individuals throughout Southeast Louisiana and around the country. 

“Entergy is proud to continue our ongoing support of communities affected by Hurricane Laura,” said Patty Riddlebarger, Entergy Corporation Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility. “We are committed to helping ALICE families throughout Louisiana in rebuilding and grateful for the United Way and Red Cross’ efforts to get them back home.”

UWSELA is still leading Hurricane Laura relief efforts in Southeast Louisiana. The public can learn more about ongoing material donation and volunteer needs at UnitedWaySELA.org/Volunteer. 


About United Way of Southeast Louisiana

For 95 years, United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) has been a leader and trusted partner in improving lives and making a lasting difference. We fight to eradicate poverty by preparing people for quality jobs, growing incomes, and affording better health and education opportunities throughout Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. We have a bold vision of equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and financially stable – and we have a plan. United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Blueprint for Prosperity guides all strategic investments in programs, initiatives, collaborations, volunteerism, and advocacy aimed at tackling poverty. For more information, please visit UnitedWaySELA.org. Find us on social: @UnitedWaySELA.


About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.