AmeriCorps and Senior Corps Respond to Colorado Floods

Sep 26, 2013

More than 470 Members Already Deployed; New Grants Will Support Long-Term Recovery

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has deployed more than 470 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps participants to areas devastated by massive flooding in Colorado. Three CNCS programs –AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps, and Senior Corps RSVP – are involved in the effort.

Currently more than 210 AmeriCorps members, 180 AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps members, and 80 Senior Corps RSVP volunteers are providing a range of services including supporting sheltering and mass care operations, staffing call centers, mucking and gutting homes, managing volunteers, registering disaster survivors, and supporting evacuation sites and operations centers.

To bolster these response efforts, CNCS is awarding $280,000 in grants to four Colorado RSVP programs to engage senior volunteers in immediate and long-term recovery efforts.  The grants will enlist hundreds of RSVP volunteers in food distribution, call center support, transportation, home repair, debris clean up, case management, financial counseling, and disaster preparedness projects.  These volunteers are projected to serve more than 25,000 hours over the next two years to support long-term recovery efforts.

“As Coloradoans dig out and begin to rebuild, the national service family stands shoulder to shoulder in their time of need,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS.  “We are inspired by the resilience of survivors and the swift and coordinated response of emergency personnel, government agencies, and nonprofit and faith-based groups whose work is helping save lives, provide shelter, and rebuild communities.  Our AmeriCorps and Senior Corps teams were fast on the ground and have provided vital relief to survivors.   Through the new resources we are announcing today, we will continue to support Colorado families and communities over the long haul.”

“It’s inspiring to witness the outpouring of support from our families, our neighbors, and our fellow Americans that has followed the floods in Colorado,” Senator Michael Bennet said. “We’ve seen our communities come together to help pick up the pieces and begin the long road to recovery. This grant will help ensure hundreds of volunteers can continue to help with our rebuilding efforts.”

“As I keep fighting to ensure that Colorado communities have every federal resource they need to rebuild after these tragic floods, I am glad the Corporation for National and Community Service has responded,” Senator Mark Udall said. “These grants will support four Colorado RSVP programs to organize volunteers in the ongoing recovery efforts including home repair, debris clean up, food distribution, transportation and other projects.”

The massive rains and heavy flooding that started on September 11 have affected early 2,000 square miles in 17 Colorado counties.  Preliminary damage assessments by federal and state authorities estimate that 1,882 homes were destroyed, 16,101 homes were damaged, and 200 miles of roadways and 50 bridges were damaged. 

On Tuesday, Vice President Biden toured the area, joining Gov. John Hickenlooper, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, and other state and federal officials in surveying flood-damaged communities from the air.  At the FEMA operations center in Greeley, the Vice President thanked first responders and other personnel, including FEMA Corps members.

The national service response to date includes:

  • More than 180 AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps members have been deployed to support the FEMA Direct Survivor Assistance, Logistics, Individual Assistance, and other operations.
  • More than 170 national service participants from American Red Cross Rapid Response AmeriCorps, Weld County Youth Conservation Corps, RSVP of Larimer County, VOA Denver RSVP, AmeriCorps VISTA, Boulder RSVP and other programs are currently supporting 2-1-1 call centers, sheltering and mass care, American Red Cross evacuation sites, the State Emergency Operations Center, Colorado Department of Human Services, and other support operations.
  • More than 80 AmeriCorps NCCC members from the Atlantic Region Campus are deployed to Colorado serving with American Red Cross, NECHAMA and Imagine! providing mass care support, mucking, gutting and volunteer leadership. 

The CNCS Disaster Services Unit is working with FEMA, the Colorado Office of  Emergency Management, Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), and other organizations to identify and support additional disaster response needs.  The agency is also working with its state office and Serve Colorado, the Governor's Commission on Community Service, to identify additional resources to deploy.

Over the past year, Senior Corps has acted quickly to support survivors in disaster-affected communities, providing nearly $200,000 to RSVP affiliates in West, Texas after the deadly fertilizer plant explosion and another $100,000 to Moorem Oklahoma after the tornado.

The four RSVP grants announced today will go to RSVP of Boulder and Broomfield Counties ($119,000), Volunteers of America Larimer RSVP ($51,000), Weld County RSVP sponsored by the University of Northern Colorado ($80,000), and Volunteers of America Denver RSVP ($30,000).

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