2017 Disaster Fund Activity
The UUA Southern Region is administering the grant process for requesting funds from both the Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund and the UUA Disaster Relief Fund (formerly the Hurricane Irma Recovery Fund).
A Disaster Relief Application Review Team has been assembled to determine funding priorities based on need and funds available, and to review the grant requests received.
UU congregations, as well as recognized UU entities, such as Church of the Larger Fellowship, are eligible to apply for grants to repair any damage to their buildings, and to respond to the needs of their members' and their community's efforts to get back on its feet.
In addition to their own recovery needs, congregations will have the flexibility to support local ministry partners to get hurricane victims what they need, such as food, water, power, and safe accommodations until the housing situation can be stabilized.
How to apply for a Hurricane Disaster Relief grant in the Southern Region (issued to UU congregations or recognized UU entities to support recovery efforts related to hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria).
Northern California Fires
- Napa Valley Unitarian Universalists, CA - To provide emergency assistance to families who lost their homes and to assist in repairs related to smoke damage for other households.
Hurricane Irma and Maria Response
After the Southeast and the Caribbean experienced two category five hurricanes within a week of each other, the initial Hurricane Irma Recovery Fund was broadened and renamed the UUA Disaster Relief Fund. Initial grants have been awarded to:
- Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater, FL - To assist in repairs caused by the downing of a very large tree on church property.
- Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers, FL - For debris removal and repairs of building and exterior signage, as well as emergency assistance to several families for temporary housing, power generator, and repair of a mobile home.
- Canon Unitarian Universalist Church, GA - To assist with roof repairs to their building.
- Unitarian Universalists of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR - For emergency supplies and to assist in repairs to the local library where they meet. More aid will be sent as the island regains basic services such as water and power.
- UU Fellowship of St. Croix, USVI - Fellowship members are forming working teams with community partners to go door-to-door to conduct "wellness checks" on residents and help them address their immediate needs. This is especially important as the island is under a strict curfew, with just four hours a day available for people to leave their homes.
- Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of St. John, USVI - To assist in rebuilding the Gifft Hill School where the fellowship meets and so that the school can re-open as soon as possible. All students in St. John will be able to attend while other schools are under repair.
The Disaster Relief Application Review Team will continue to process grant applications and make disbursements as funds are available.
Hurricane Harvey Response
Gifts made to the Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund were allocated 50/50 between the UUA and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC). The first UUA grants have been awarded to the following:
- Black Lives of UU - For emergency assistance to Black UUs who do not have a congregation.
- Emerson UU Church, Houston - To repair damage to their building and assist over 30 families who were dislocated by Hurricane Harvey
- Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church, Houston - To provide transportation and direct assistance to sixteen families who were dislocated by Hurricane Harvey
The UUSC is allocating its portion of Hurricane Harvey funds to grassroots organizations serving the most vulnerable communities—namely, immigrants, the disabled, and people of color in resource-poor communities. Already vulnerable populations are more likely to suffer than others.
- Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES)
RAICES is working directly with undocumented families and plans to hire five attorneys to help with the legal needs these families now face. They are also working with shelters to ensure the protection of undocumented communities.
- Living Hope Wheelchair Association
Living Hope serves people living with injuries and disabilities that require them to use wheelchairs. The majority of its members are immigrants (90%) and low-wage workers who are not entitled to benefits, lack medical insurance, and do not have a stable source of income. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the organization had to rescue many of its members and has been distributing much-need medical supplies to a highly vulnerable community.
UUSC plans to fund 3 - 4 additional groups providing immediate relief, legal aid, housing-related, and/or other support to immigrant and low-income communities, and addressing emerging environmental and public health concerns affecting low-income people of color.