Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
Hurricane Katrina drove approximately 20,000 evacuees from New Orleans to [Port Arthur, Texas], overwhelming its thin resources. Shortly thereafter, Hurricane Rita struck. Currently, there are few organizations in Port Arthur, Texas, providing needed services to children and families.
This description in the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services' grant application for CWLA Katrina Kids funding summed up the extent of the situation facing the Department's work in Port Arthur, where 25% of its 57,755 residents live in poverty.
Three grocery stores, an entire shopping mall, a pharmacy, and various businesses have closed. As a result, jobs were lost and many resources that would have been dedicated to assisting children and families are now going to assist hurricane recovery.
Finally, information about disaster relief and planning are limited. This funding request will allow the DFPS to move beyond pre-hurricane levels by restoring social services, enhancing educational programs and job training opportunities, and by preventing future problems of this magnitude through disaster preparation.
CWLA has awarded $41,200 to help support the Texas DFPS relief efforts in Port Arthur related to hurricanes Katrina and Rita. These efforts will include providing residents with evacuation preparedness information and planning, as well as providing health services, emergency needs, food, and shelter.
Funding from CWLA will also support a neighborhood tutoring program that is projected to conduct 800 tutoring sessions for about 270 children-about 15 sessions per child.
"As a result of the CWLA and [other] grant awards, residents in Port Arthur, Texas, will receive needed services to address some of the impact caused by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita," said Joyce James, Assistant Commissioner for Child Protective Services with DFPS. "The services such as tutoring that we will be able to provide due to the grant award will have a profound impact on the lives of the children in this area. In addition, the community will become knowledgeable on hurricane preparedness and will have an evacuation plan in place in the event another disaster... occurs in this area."
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