Disaster Services Unit

You count on us to respond fast and stay last. Right now, specially trained AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers are hard at work in several states, providing skilled manpower and managing tens of thousands of volunteers. And we’ll be in these communities long after the cameras are gone.

You can count on us to team up. Our agility on the ground is due in part to the relationships we’ve built with national, state, and local leaders from the nonprofit, government, and private sectors.

Through the Disaster Services Unit (DSU), which has agency-wide responsibility for coordination of disaster services activities, CNCS provides expertise, ongoing support, and access to a network of dedicated volunteers. CNCS subscribes to the belief that all disasters are local. We focus on enhancing and adding value to what already exists in communities and infrastructure -- working in partnership with State Service Commissions, local government, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations.
CNCS programs AmeriCorps and Senior Corps regularly provide essential services across the nation including:


  • Preparedness Education
  • Accessibility improvements on homes and shelters
  • Public Information Outreach
  • Fuel reduction and prescribed burning to mitigate wildland fires
  • Environmental projects to mitigate the effects of flooding and hurricanes


  • Volunteer Base Camp Setup and Operation
  • Operations Center Setup and Support
  • Special Needs Assistance

Response continued

  • Call Center Support /Setup/Operations
  • Shelter Operations
  • Pet Shelter Operations
  • Volunteer Coordination
  • Debris Removal
  • Warehouse Management
  • Public Information Outreach


  • Home Consturction/Repair
  • Public Facilities Renovation
  • Needs Assessment
  • Case Management
  • Disaster Recovery Center Support
  • Long-Term Recovery Committee Support
  • Volunteer Reception Center Support





Currently, we’re working in close partnership with FEMA, emergency officials, and faith-based and community groups in many communities — removing debris, sandbagging, running call centers, coordinating donations, assessing needs, providing food and shelter, supporting evacuation efforts, and managing the large outpouring of volunteers.

Learn more about the National Service response to Hurricane Sandy and the AmeriCorps response to the Joplin Tornado.

For more information about the CNCS Disaster Services Unit, email dsu@cns.gov

Disaster Services Update

GovDelivery Email



Click on the drop-down menu below to read regularly updated Disaster Briefs. 



Disaster Services Knowledge Network

This online network provides a place to share what works at the intersection of disaster services and national service.

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