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AmeriCorps agency honored for work during disaster response efforts
WASHINGTON May 17, 2017 The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, was selected as the National VOAD Partner of the Year. The award, presented by National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), recognizes the contributions CNCS programs have had in disaster response and recovery efforts throughout the country during the last year.
NVOAD is a national coordinating body for the major community and faith-based organizations involved in disaster response. The award was presented by National VOAD CEO, Greg Forrester, at the organization's annual conference in Houston on Tuesday evening.
In 2016, CNCS deployed more than 1,300 AmeriCorps members from AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams to seven nationally-declared disasters. AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams are CNCS's elite specialty-trained crews deployed at the request of local and federal emergency managers. The teams deployed in 2016 represented the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.
AmeriCorps members joined response efforts for the Missouri, West Virginia, Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana flooding; the Flint water crisis; Hurricane Matthew; and the East Tennessee wildfires. Their efforts led to the mucking and gutting of more than 1,400 homes. Mucking and gutting is essential to returning families and individuals back to their homes. Without these services, houses quickly become unsalvageable, contributing to the devastating loss of available, affordable housing in communities most in need. Other services include debris removal, roof tarping, sandbagging, volunteer and donations management, and the establishment of long-term recovery coalitions, which bring together local organizations to provide critical recovery resources to homeowners.
"CNCS's work in disaster response and recovery cannot be done alone. The AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members deployed become part of the communities in which they serve and stand shoulder to shoulder with their neighbors throughout the recovery process," said Kelly DeGraff, senior advisor for disaster services at the Corporation for National and Community Service. "CNCS is honored to receive this award, and proud to share it with the thousands of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members who've responded to disasters and all the lives they've touched."
Additional 2017 NVOAD winners include the South Dakota VOAD for the Innovative Program of the Year, the North Carolina VOAD for State VOAD of the Year, All Hands for Member of the Year, Christy Smith of UMCOR for the Spirit Award, and Dee Binder of the American Red Cross for the Don Hampton Volunteer of the Year Award.
Currently, more than 80 AmeriCorps members in Missouri and Texas are assisting local communities in their response to devastating storms and flooding. In Texas, AmeriCorps members from the Texas Conservation Corps have set up a Volunteer Reception Center and are joined by Senior Corps members from the RV Disaster Corps. In Missouri, AmeriCorps St. Louis members are joined by five AmeriCorps NCCC teams to support the 2-1-1 call center, muck-and-gut operations, debris removal, and volunteer management.
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 the Flint water crisis; 2016 Louisiana flood; 2014 Southeast Michigan flood; Hurricane Sandy; tornadoes in Joplin, Mo., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Moore, Okla.; the explosion in West, Texas; and the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill.
The Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency, provides strong support, expertise, and trained and dedicated volunteers to help communities to prepare for, mitigate, respond to, 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.
CNCS engages millions of Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads volunteer initiatives for the nation. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.