Hard work, perseverance and the thousands upon thousands of people who came together to support our efforts enabled us to rebuild our great city and, ultimately, our spirits.
In the face of life’s most harrowing challenges, Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans is at the forefront of helping the most vulnerable people in our communities. Ten years ago, our organization faced its most dire challenge to date when Hurricane Katrina ravaged twenty-two of our Greater New Orleans facilities with floodwater. The tens of thousands of people we serve, 500 employees and their loved ones as well as our community of supporters were impacted by this tragedy. Most were scattered across the country as a result. Yet, when confronted with adversity of such magnitude, Volunteers of America embodied resilience by stepping forward as a leader in the charge to rebuild and reunite our community.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, not only did Volunteers of America re-establish the more than twenty human services programs that we administered prior to the storm, we also developed new services to meet the immediate recovery needs of the Greater New Orleans community. Through a collaborative effort, our organization placed 17,959 volunteers to support the rebuilding efforts of more than 100 organizations throughout the Greater New Orleans area, acting as a driving force in meeting the labor needs of the massive recovery effort.
During the time immediately following the disaster, when programs were suspended, our staff was redeployed to coordinate and deliver comprehensive services to 58,000 displaced Louisianans throughout the state. Our efforts included individualized case management services for individuals and families, with the goal of returning survivors to their pre-disaster level of functioning. Services included operating a 24-hour crisis line, intensive case management, counseling in high-need schools and public health units, facilitating groups on grief and loss at senior centers, and anger management for children.
During this time, Volunteers of America also recognized the need for housing and developed a subsidiary named Renaissance Neighborhood Development Corporation (RNDC). RNDC is a unique partnership between Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans and Volunteers of America National Services with a mission to develop workforce rental housing in response to the devastation caused by Katrina. Volunteers of America lost 1,050 units of housing in Katrina that took 35 years to develop. Since 2006, Volunteers of America and RNDC have placed in service 800 units in our community. These projects include Centennial Place Apartments, Elysian Courtyards, The Terraces on Tulane, Wisdom Manor, The Groves at Mile Branch and Bayou Cane Apartments, enabling people to return to the beloved region they’ve long called home.
Hard work, perseverance and the thousands upon thousands of people who came together to support our efforts enabled us to rebuild our great city and, ultimately, our spirits. Today, ten years later, Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans remains a leader in meeting the deepest needs of the communities it serves. By providing an extensive yet personalized array of human services we provide hope, empowerment and, ultimately, transformation to the lives of our region’s most vulnerable people.