LOS ANGELES, CA—August 30, 2007— Operation HOPE, financial literacy nonprofit, recognizing progress in hurricane affected areas, announced today that 84,316 individuals have received financial triage services through HOPE Coalition America (HCA) since the storm devastated the gulf coast in 2005. The Katrina initiative—Project Restore HOPE, has:
- provided 16,648 individuals and small businesses with Guidance and Assistance
- assisted 23,929 individuals and small businesses with one-on-one Case Management
- educated 14,516 participants through Financial Preparedness and Recovery seminars
- answered 49,772 incoming calls handled by the national toll-free call center
- provided 84,316 individuals free services
"My heart literally broke in the days, weeks and months that followed August 29th, 2005, and the disaster that the world called Hurricane Katrina and from what I perceived as indifference and was determined to do something about it. Operation HOPE launched Project Restore HOPE (PRH) and two years later, things are different; at least for those we were able to help through PRH. I am very proud of what we were able to do, and for what we will continue to do in Louisiana and Mississippi,” said John Hope Bryant, HOPE founder, chairman and CEO.
HOPE Coalition America, Operation HOPE’s emergency preparedness and recovery division, established a presence in the disaster areas to manage the PRH initiative in 2005; the division opened offices in Louisiana and Mississippi to provide “economic triage” to hurricane survivors. The programs focus on providing necessary guidance and financial education to increase awareness and to help speed economic recovery.
Project Restore HOPE worked for Karen Barnes of Marrero, LA, a single mother of four with damage to her home and no insurance. Karen states how thankful she was to receive $4,100 from HOPE’s fund. For Glenda and Gregory Avery, of New Roads, LA, Operation HOPE helped them secure emergency housing, and as Glenda wrote when they learned of Gregory’s mother death, they were doubly grateful to HOPE: “Fate sent you to help us prepare for another kind of storm.”
HOPE also reported previous figures for PRH, which included $500,000 in grant monies dispersed from an E*TRADE FINANCIAL fund for rebuilding homes or businesses. A record $11,934,879 in Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) was returned to families as a result of awareness campaign with William J. Clinton Foundation and H&R Block, as lead partners in the PRH initiative. Principal support also included in-kind contributions from First American Corporation to establish a call center and software donated by Microsoft, along with database development by Quilogy. Efforts were spurred on by a $750,000 commitment from the Bush Clinton Katrina Fund and a million dollar commitment from Mississippi Development Authority (MDA). Additional support came from the Office of the Governor, State of Louisiana; financial leaders Bank of America, Bank of the West, TransUnion and Citigroup; and legal consulting services from Mannatt, Phelps and Phillips.
“Many individuals and families can still benefit from our homeowner assistance and small business programs. If you have recovery challenges, a free consultation with an HCA representative will help you make informed decisions,” said HCA Managing Director, Fred Smith, encouraging those still in the recovery process to contact Operation HOPE.
HCA continues to provide survivors in the affected areas with the following services:
- Emergency Budget Guidance
- Paying a Mortgage on a Destroyed Home
- Should You Rebuild and When
- Assistance with Working with Your Creditors
- Referrals to Government and Private Agencies
- Assistance with Obtaining Copies of Destroyed Financial Documents
- Insurance Claims Assistance
- Disaster Preparation & Recovery Seminars before and after disasters
HOPE Coalition America was formed in 2001 as a collaborative effort of private sector and government organizations to address the financial challenges individuals and small businesses face after disasters or emergencies. HCA works with the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD), Citizen Corps and the American Red Cross as a grass-roots initiative to assist individuals with the short, medium and long-term economic and financial challenges they face following disasters and emergencies.
Gulf area residents recovering from the hurricanes are urged to contact HCA toll-free at 888-388-HOPE (4673) or visit the website at www.operationhope.org for more information and financial guidance.
About Operation HOPE, Inc.
Operation HOPE, America’s financial literacy and empowerment leader, operates with more than 400 private sector partners, 1500 nonprofit and school partners, and 100 government partners, in 30 U.S. major markets and South Africa. Through its global initiatives and three principal programs, Banking on Our Future, HOPE Coalition America, and HOPE Centers, Operation HOPE has raised more than $400 million for its “silver rights” mission to make free enterprise and capitalism relevant and accessible to underrepresented and disenfranchised communities.