The UUA-UUSC Gulf Coast Relief Fund makes next round of grants.
The fund authorized a grant of $65,000 to ACORN for community organizing around the right of displaced residents to return to New Orleans. ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is the nation’s largest community organizer of low- and moderate-income families. This grant funds ACORN’s grass-roots work in New Orleans in four areas: gutting 1,400 flood-damaged houses in New Orleans so residents can begin repair, community participation in neighborhood viability plans, voter rights including voter registration for the upcoming New Orleans mayoral elections, and information and education on environmental protection in New Orleans.
A grant of $20,275 is going to Hands Off Iberville to facilitate the return of displaced public housing residents, now in Houston and Baton Rouge, to their homes in the public housing complexes in New Orleans, principally in the Cooper and St. Bernard areas. Many public housing apartments remain habitable but residents have not been allowed to return. The grant will be used to pay for an organizer and for mobilizing residents so they can advocate for their return.
Another grant of $41,450 goes to Zion Travelers Cooperative Center, a community-organized relief and rehabilitation center in Phoenix, Plaquemines Parish, La. The center is responding to the needs of returning residents in the East Bank area of Plaquemines Parish, an area that has been almost totally ignored by the mainstream relief agencies. As more people return to Phoenix and surrounding areas and begin work on their houses, this grant will match funds from Oxfam America. The funds will go toward constructing, outfitting, equipping, and running a tool and equipment center where community members and residents of the East Bank area can borrow tools and equipment to repair and rebuild their homes.
A grant of $56,540 goes to the People’s Hurricane Relief Fund and Oversight Coalition (PHRF/OC). This group is working with survivors groups for right to return, supporting their participation in an alternative grassroots plan for reconstruction of New Orleans.
These grants bring the total amount disbursed from the fund to more than $1.3 million. About $2.2 million remains in the fund. Information on the relief fund can be found below.
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Donald E. Skinner was the founding editor of the InterConnections newsletter for congregational leaders and a senior editor of UU World from 1998 until his retirement in 2014. He is a member of the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church in Lenexa, Kansas.
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