Navigating the Road to Recovery

Assessment of the Coordination, Communication, and Financing of the Disaster Case Management Pilot in Louisiana

by Joie D. Acosta, Anita Chandra, Kevin Carter Feeney

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In 2009, individuals heavily affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were still in need of social services. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provided funding to the Louisiana Recovery Authority to implement the Disaster Case Management Pilot (DCMP) in order to help people still living in FEMA temporary housing units in April 2009 move to permanent and secure housing and access services. Despite concerted effort by participating agencies, the implementation of the DCMP was fraught with challenges. As a result, the pilot could not be implemented as intended, leaving the needs of many clients not fully met. This report documents some of the key challenges in coordination, communication, and financing of the program and offers recommendations for future state and FEMA implementation of disaster case management. In light of these challenges, the authors recommend that federal and state governments review the systems used to identify and locate residents in need of disaster case management; these systems performed poorly in the DCMP, making it difficult to appropriately plan services. The stop and start of recovery initiatives led to serious discontinuities in client recovery, so the authors also recommend that federal and state governments consider a single, longer-term recovery initiative that seamlessly acknowledges the stages of human recovery. Improvements in how federal and state governments identify and locate affected residents, consider needs and vulnerabilities in planning, and ensure continuity of services are critical to ensure high-quality disaster case management.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction and Background

  • Chapter Two

    Methods

  • Chapter Three

    Disaster Case Management Pilot Implementation

  • Chapter Four

    Households Served and Services Provided by the Pilot

  • Chapter Five

    Challenges to Pilot Implementation

  • Chapter Six

    Recommendations to Improve Future Implementation of Disaster Case Management in Louisiana

  • Chapter Seven

    Recommendations for FEMA's National Disaster Case Management Program

  • Chapter Eight

    Unanswered Questions and Next Steps

  • Chapter Nine

    Conclusion

  • Appendix A

    Louisiana Disaster Case Management Pilot Historical Timeline

  • Appendix B

    Louisiana Disaster Case Management Pilot Budget Estimates from September 1, 2009, to June 18, 2010

  • Appendix C

    Demographics of the Population Served

  • Appendix D

    Recovery Services Listed in Descending Order by Frequency of Request

  • Appendix E

    Recovery Service Indicators

  • Appendix F

    Geographic Distribution of Open and Closed Cases

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was supported by the Louisiana Recovery Authority as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency-funded Disaster Case Management Pilot and was conducted within RAND Health.

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