Senior Corps Grant to Support Long-Term Disaster Recovery in Eastern Kentucky

Sep 2, 2015


Morehead University RSVP program will build on national service resources that are helping repair homes, manage volunteers, and distribute donated goods

MOREHEAD, Ky. – The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced that Morehead University Senior Corps RSVP Program will receive a grant of $155,000 to support long-term disaster recovery in Eastern Kentucky. CNCS awarded funding in response to devastating floods the week of July 13 in Carter, Rowan, and Johnson Counties.

Morehead University will manage the grant that will support two volunteer case management positions to aid in the on-going needs of the residents affected by the floods. These individuals will be the point of contact for identifying needs and will recruit and connect volunteers to address those needs as well as engage in long-term recovery planning. They are expected to engage more than 400 community-based volunteers and at least 50 Senior Corps RSVP volunteers.

The announcement coincides with the visit of Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS, to Eastern Kentucky where she will join AmeriCorps members at meetings with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Rep. Hal Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Gov. Steve Beshear.

“For generations, seniors in Eastern Kentucky and across the country have been making a powerful impact in their communities, especially in times when disaster strikes,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “This grant will enable local organizations that are leading disaster recovery and planning efforts to engage even more residents in helping the affected communities rebuild and recover.”

Morehead University will work alongside the Johnson County Recovery Group, UNITE, the Christian Appalachian Project, and AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) to increase resources and support rebuilding and redevelopment of the area.

The grant also builds on the national service efforts of the AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers who have served or are serving through Morehead University, Operation UNITE, the Catholic Volunteer Network, Christian Appalachian Project, and AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). So far, these national service participants have mucked or gutted 66 houses, conducted nearly 100 damage assessments, assisted 1,126 residents, distributed 163 tons of donated items, and helped local groups recruit individuals who have contributed a total of 5,700 volunteer hours.

“We are honored MSU’s Senior Corps RSVP Program has been selected for the Corporation for National and Community Service grant for flood recovery in Rowan, Carter and Johnson counties,” said Wayne D. Andrews, MSU president. “The flooding devastated families and communities in our service region. We want to thank Wendy Spencer, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Hal Rogers for their leadership. This will enable MSU to aid the families hit by the disaster to get their lives back to normal.”

Today’s announcement is just another example of how national service continues to help implement solutions developed by Eastern Kentucky leaders. National service has long been a part of the community through partnerships with nonprofits like the Christian Appalachian Project, now a 50-year anti-poverty partnership and Operation UNITE since 2009.

Just last year, the federal agency committed 52 full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members to the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) initiative to improve the economy and quality of life in Eastern Kentucky. President Andrews of Morehead University, who served as a board member of the Kentucky Campus Compact Network at Northern Kentucky University, helped connect national service resources to SOAR.

This year, CNCS will invest more than $17 million to support more than 5,700 AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers serving at 950 locations across Kentucky.

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