AmeriCorps Deployed to Assist Missouri with Flood Recovery Efforts
More than 100 AmeriCorps members from across the country arrive in St. Louis region to help rebuild
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, announced that more than 100 AmeriCorps members have been deployed to areas devastated by massive flooding in Missouri.
In partnership with the State Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, the Missouri Community Service Commission, and voluntary agency partners, these AmeriCorps members are coordinating the volunteer response efforts as well as providing direct assistance to homeowners by removing debris and mucking out homes. A team from local organization AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team has been in the area since December 29 supporting response activities. They were joined this week by AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams from Washington Conservation Corps, AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa, and Hoopa Tribal Civilian Community Corps.
AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams are CNCS’ elite, specialty-trained crews deployed at the request of local and federal emergency managers. These teams provide expert manpower for everything from coordinating volunteers to donations management, sandbagging to shelter operations, and debris removal to home repairs.
Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS, was in the area on Tuesday of this week, when she met with some of the deployed AmeriCorps members, as well as other local residents. She was joined by Kelly DeGraff, the agency’s Senior Advisor for Disaster Services.
“As Missourians dig out and begin to rebuild, the national service family stands should to shoulder with them in their time of need,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “During my time in the St. Louis region, I was inspired by the resilience of the community and the swift and coordinated response of emergency personnel, government agencies, and nonprofit and faith-based groups whose work is helping the community recover and rebuild. Our AmeriCorps teams were fast on the ground, and are providing vital relief to survivors. Through these additional resources we are announcing today, we will continue to support Missouri over the long haul.”
CNCS has an established record when it comes to disaster response, particularly in Missouri. The first team of AmeriCorps members arrived within hours after the tornado ripped through Joplin in May 2011. In the first year after the tornado, more than 350 AmeriCorps members arrived in the area – providing vital services and coordinating more than 75,000 volunteers who were essential to the city’s recovery. AmeriCorps members were instrumental in coordinating an influx of volunteers and donations that saved the City of Joplin more than $17.7 million.
Following a disaster, national service acts as a force multiplier, providing key resources and significantly expanding the capacity of existing organizations on the ground. More than 40,000 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members were deployed in response to Hurricane Katrina. In the decade since, AmeriCorps teams have provided critical support after countless disasters, including Hurricane Sandy, the 2013 floods in Colorado, tornadoes in Joplin, Mo., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Moore, Okla., and the October 2015 floods in South Carolina.
Through all its programs and initiatives, CNCS helps communities to prepare for, mitigate, respond, and recover from disasters. Beginning with Hurricane Katrina, AmeriCorps teams have provided critical support after numerous disasters in the past decade, including tornadoes in Joplin, Tuscaloosa, and Moore; flooding in the Colorado and the Midwest; Western forest fires; Hurricane Sandy; and many others. Since Katrina, the agency has developed innovative programs to support disaster survivors, including FEMA Corps, AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams, and Resilience AmeriCorps.
This deployment is possible through close coordination and support from the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, National Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, EPA, United Way of Greater St. Louis, and the Missouri VOAD (Voluntary Agency Active in Disaster). In addition, the agency is working closely with the Missouri Community Service Commission, the state service commission responsible for implementing national service programs in Missouri.