WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Hurricane Harvey heads toward Texas, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and the nation’s volunteering initiatives, has placed more than 700 members of the AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team (A-DRTs), including FEMA Corps, on standby to deploy at the request of the state and local managers. These teams provide expert manpower for everything from coordinating volunteers to donations management, sandbagging to shelter operations, and debris removal to home repairs.
The agency has confirmed the availability of services from local AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs and have pre-positioned them for rapid response. The Heart of Texas Senior Corps RSVP program is mobilizing their RV Disaster Corps, which will coordinate available Senior Corps volunteers in preparation to support Volunteer Reception Centers. AmeriCorps members with American Youth Works are assisting Red Cross shelter operations and additional AmeriCorps members will provide support for Red Cross damage and disaster assesments, mobile feeding routes, shelters, warehouses, and logistics.
CNCS is coordinating closely with state, regional, and federal emergency partners, including FEMA, American Red Cross, and the National Response Coordination Center. In addition, the agency is working with OneStar and Volunteer Louisiana, the Governor-appointed state service commissions responsible for implementing national service programs across Texas and Louisiana.
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 last year’s Louisiana flooding, Hurricane Sandy, tornadoes in Joplin, Mo., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Moore, Okla., the explosion in West, Texas, and the Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill.
The agency provides strong support, expertise, and trained and dedicated volunteers to help communities to prepare for, mitigate, respond, and recover from natural and man-made disasters. From forest fires and floods, to hurricanes and tornadoes, to terror attacks and oil spills, participants in CNCS programs have provided critical support to millions of Americans affected by disasters since 1994. Since 2011, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs have responded to more than 200 federally declared disasters.
CNCS urges those wanting to get involved to wait for volunteer opportunities following the disaster. Those interested should consider cash donations to a recognized disaster relief organization.
For more information and to follow national service disaster service developments, visit NationalService.gov.