Financial Literacy & Disaster Preparedness - December 28, 2010 by dharkanjhel

Posted by: Elizabeth Zimmerman, Deputy Associate Administrator, Response and Recovery

Disasters not only affect community infrastructure and public works, but they often overcome family finances, making recovery difficult and sometimes impossible. Before, during and after disasters strike, we work with a number of non-profit, voluntary and faith-based groups who specialize in getting disaster survivors financially back on their feet.

As we often say, FEMA is just one part of the emergency management team that helps individuals and communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.  In this light, we’ve renewed our partnership with Operation HOPE, a non-profit public benefit corporation, to enhance financial counseling services available before, during and after disasters.

Operation HOPE Founder and CEO John Hope Bryant (L) and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the two organizations.

Our partnership with Operation HOPE will result in greater access to free financial counseling and information for disaster survivors, including:

  • debt counseling,
  • case management services, and
  • workshops, seminars and manuals for those seeking help at disaster recovery centers.

In conjunction with National Financial Literacy Month and the agreement signing held on April 27, we also will be co-hosting a webinar with Operation HOPE on Emergency Financial Preparedness.  This webinar, scheduled for May 3, will emphasize the importance of what it means to be financially prepared.  We will also touch on why, in the face of disaster, failing to be financially prepared can create even more stress and anxiety than the disaster itself.

So, what can you do to be financially prepared for emergencies?

  • Start by completing an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit. This document can help you keep track of important documentation, like insurance policy information, so you have clear financial records that will help maintain stability in the event of an emergency.

Find additional resources on financial preparedness, more on our partnership with Operation HOPE, and information on helping your community prepare for a disaster at www.CitizenCorps.gov

Board members from Operation HOPE and senior leadership from FEMA pose for a group picture after the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the two organizations.

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