Jackson, MS — Following the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Enterprise Corporation of the Delta and Hope Community Credit Union (ECD/HOPE) experienced an outpouring of solidarity from community development finance institutions (CDFIs), socially responsible investors (SRIs) and foundations across the nation. Searching for an alternative to the large relief agencies, the organizations sought a regional partner with the capacity to direct resources to churches and community groups working with evacuees from the Gulf Coast and New Orleans.
In response to the outpouring of support ECD/HOPE created the ECD/HOPE Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. The Fund was created to provide initial immediate relief to evacuees through local partners and, over time, to support the process of rebuilding lives, homes, businesses and communities. To date, ECD/HOPE has established partnerships with five faith-based organizations and committed $65,000 from the Fund to communities in South Mississippi and North Louisiana.
One of the partnerships included Renewal Inc., a Mid South Delta Initiative (MSDI) Community Team in Monroe, LA. “Immediately following the disaster, it was very clear that Renewal had a plan in place to serve those who were not receiving assistance from anyone else,” said Ed Sivak, senior program officer with ECD. Renewal is working with ten displaced families to provide emergency cash assistance, housing assistance through Section 8, and much needed clothes and supplies. ECD routed $10,000 from the Relief Fund to Renewal to provide the ten families with financial assistance to begin making a new start. Renewal has placed two families in homes so far. “The funding from ECD is just what we needed to help us begin a new life,” said Larry Bell.
Renewal also connected ECD/HOPE with two other local churches working with evacuees. One of the churches used the Katrina Relief Funds to assist ten families in a manner similar to Renewal. The other church used the Katrina Relief Funds to make a house livable for a family of evacuees and to provide rent and utility assistance payments for 13 evacuees for the next three months.
ECD/HOPE is also providing information about Hope Community Credit Union (HOPE) to each of its relief partners. HOPE is waiving all joining fees for people affected by the hurricane. People affected by the hurricane who open an account with HOPE can use the account to accept Federal Emergency Management Agency individual assistance payments via direct deposit and will receive an ATM card to access funds. For more information about opening a HOPE Disaster account please call 1-866-321-HOPE.