UUA-UUSC's response to the hurricane seeks to encompass both the destruction
of the hurricane but also the massive lack of effective institutional response
particularly the lack of a comprehensive dignified mid-term solution. We feel
that those communities who suffered most both from the hurricanes and the
aftermath, unjustly suffered precisely because of the entrenched inequalities in
We feel that the aftermath of the hurricanes of 2005 is still a crisis and opportunity
in which it
may be possible to transform that situation of inequality and build a more just
and equitable Gulf Coast region. Our work is based on that vision of
rebuilding towards justice, with a particular focus on supporting the voice and
participation of communities of low-income people and communities of color to
transform their situation. To this end, UUA-UUSC's overall programmatic goals
We focus on organizations that are reflective of, representative of, and
local people who are members of, low income and vulnerable communities affected
by both the hurricanes and institutional failure, prioritizing:
In order to fulfill the programmatic goals outlined above, the working
committee discussed and developed the following funding strategies, based on the
original programmatic framework which served as funding criteria. The projects
funded are outlined under each funding strategy to provide a clearer picture how
they contribute to the overall goals.
This work supported the strengthening of grass roots and community
organizations, with an emphasis on those working with or led by
people of color historically and currently in the region, to build
their capacity to do their work in an anti-racist way and as much as possible
come together to join forces. This included; advocacy for the right to a safe
and dignified return, and New Orleans based work with the evacuees in order to
facilitate communication and consultation among dispersed communities. There was
a particular emphasis on strengthening grass roots organizations working in New
Orleans and with the evacuees so they can get back on their feet, formulate
common strategies and shared advocacy.
Projects in Mississippi
2. Practical assistance for organizations for rebuilding/repairing housing
in low income communities
There was support for 3 concrete assistance projects, one in New Orleans, one
on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and one in the River Parishes. Theses
projects support African American led groups, helping low income
families who have little recourse to financial aid, to gut and repair
houses and return to their communities. These projects combine funds for
materials, and linkage for UU groups to go down and do volunteer work with these
groups. This includes work through ACORN to facilitate the clean up of homes and
community centers in working class and low income neighborhoods.
Projects in New Orleans
Projects in Louisiana parishes
Support work by UU congregations to engage in advocacy, ministry, volunteer
work etc with the communities on the Gulf Coast affected by the hurricanes. The
goal was to have community ministers and volunteer programs in both Mississippi
and Louisiana. The aim is that the volunteer programs work with community fund
projects around practical assistance. The work camps are part of UU outreach to
the wider community.
Projects in Louisiana
This provides support for legal, advocacy and policy work around the return
to New Orleans, and fair access to housing, job and services for survivors
in both Mississippi and Louisiana. This includes work on the protection of
tenants' rights and prevention of unjust evictions in the hurricane affected
area . We have tried to support proposals that particularly address the
obstacles faced in areas where people of color and/or low income people who are
being marginalized and ignored. The following issues were key:
Projects in New Orleans-Louisiana
This area supports organizations addressing, documenting and responding to
the unfair labor practices around the cleaning and reconstruction contracts in
the Gulf area. We are striving to work for racial unity in this area and against
the threat of increased racialization. This includes work against the
exploitation and flagrant abuse of undocumented workers and the denial of safe
fairly paid jobs for residents.
The UUA/UUSC Gulf Coast Relief Fund does not provide direct service or relief
funds for individuals. We encourage individuals to inquire with local
congregations and community organizations to see direct relief.
If you feel your proposed project fits within our UUA/UUSC Gulf Coast Relief
Strategies, please contact Martha Thompson at the Unitarian Universalist Service
Committee at mthompson @ uusc.org
The UUA/UUSC Gulf Coast Relief Funding Panel
For more information contact gulfcoastrelief @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Thursday, August 2, 2012.
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