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In Face of Continuing Katrina and Rita Needs Red Cross Adds Resources to Gulf Coast
Date:4/2/2008

ORLANDO, Fla., April 2, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross announced today an extension of mental health assistance and other benefits to Hurricane Katrina and Rita survivors living in the hardest-hit areas of the southern Louisiana and south Mississippi. These funds, initially set aside to meet the post-disaster emerging needs of hurricane survivors, are being used to bolster existing individual assistance through recovery case management and enhance emotional support initiatives.

"More than two and a half years after landfall there are still tens of thousands of people living in travel trailers and mobile homes, thousands of people are on waiting lists for case managers, and hundreds of people call every week for emotional support services," said Russ Paulsen, executive director of the Red Cross Hurricane Recovery Program (HRP). "We had set aside some of what was given to us for needs that would emerge later in the recovery effort, but the reality is that in the hardest-hit areas, people's needs today are the same as they were months ago: emotional support, an expert navigator, advocate and resources to rebuild a life."

Specifically, the Red Cross announced the following actions:

-- An additional 87 staff have been added in southern Louisiana and south Mississippi to help those who still need to talk with experts in recovery planning and link to community, state, and federal resources. That brings the total Red Cross staff dedicated to the recovery effort in the two-state region to 147.

-- Additional resources have been made available to case managers whose clients are struggling on the road to recovery.

-- Enrollment in the Red Cross Emotional Support Program, which helps survivors offset costs of mental health or substance abuse treatment, has been extended through the end of May.

"We were pleased to see FEMA's announcement last week extending their funding for case management in some a
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SOURCE American Red Cross
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