Home > Our World > News > News Archives by Date > News Archive 2007 > October 2007 > News - October 2007
UMCOR-funded station leads Slidell Katrina recovery

Dale Kimball visits with Leona Cousins in July 2006 to assess the progress of repairs to her Slidell, La., home following Hurricane Katrina. UMNS file photos by Mike DuBose.

By Susan Meister*
Oct. 2, 2007 | SLIDELL, La. (UMNS)


Youth from Tigard (Ore.) United Methodist Church install siding at the home of
Regina Batiste in Slidell as part of Project Noah, sponsored by First United
Methodist Church of Baton Rouge, La.

In an area that suffered extensive wind and water damage two years ago from Hurricane Katrina, long-term rebuilding efforts are being led by Northshore Disaster Recovery Inc.

Northshore is one of the stations of the Louisiana United Methodist Disaster Recovery Ministry, funded by the United Methodist Committee on Relief. The staff provides case management and construction support for households in St. Tammany and Washington parishes and serves as the long-term recovery organization for St. Tammany Parish.

Nearly 90 organizations are part of the station, including 40 faith-based organizations, 27 civic organizations and various government liaison representatives. Organizations contribute financial resources, volunteers, housing, construction materials and warehousing.

Northshore director Dale Kimball recently returned from a volunteer-recruiting trip to six states. He received commitments from 28 teams in addition to the three long-term volunteer groups who re-signed and committed to send volunteers each week for the next calendar year.

"Volunteers are our most important resource," Kimball said. "We must continue recruiting for the long term."

More than rebuilding homes

Northshore Disaster Recovery is about more than rebuilding homes. "We want to rebuild the whole community," said Kimball.

A new partnership with Save the Children has placed mobile homes at two FEMA trailer parks in St. Tammany Parish that will function as community centers, with after-school programs, tutoring by high school students, crisis counseling and an array of other services. The Mt. Olive Soup Kitchen also was rebuilt largely with labor arranged through Northside, according to Kimball.

The station "has been the catalyst to bring the resources of our community together," said Shirleen Carter, executive director of the United Way serving St. Tammany Parish, which is a Northshore member.

"After a few months (following Katrina), it was evident that there must be an organized structure in place to bring all the resources and organizations together to meet the demands of the long haul," Carter added. "It takes everyone to contribute and at the end of the day the results have been enormous — over 400 homes rebuilt and over 18,000 volunteers from around the world."

Northshore’s work is consistent with UMCOR’s long-term recovery philosophy of working with communities to take ownership of their healing long after a disaster strikes. The case management model implemented by the station and others in the United Methodist Louisiana Annual (regional) Conference is considered "best practice" in long-term recovery and emphasizes family-by-family problem solving, with a caring case manager accompanying each family.

The station’s mission focuses on residents who were uninsured or under-insured and whose unmet needs are not covered by other relief systems. The primary focus is on people living in FEMA trailers, the elderly and those most at risk during hurricane season.

Seeking funding, volunteers

Those involved with the recovery effort in the Slidell area acknowledge that the rebuilding will take years. Northshore Disaster Recovery continues to actively seek funding, volunteers and resources to sustain its work.

"After a few months (following Katrina), it was evident that there must be an organized structure in place to bring all the resources and organizations together to meet the demands of the long haul."
-Shirleen Carter

Project funding comes from private and faith-based donations and grants. Grantor agencies include the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, United Way, AmeriCares, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee and Louisiana Family Recovery Corps. A recent grant from the Rotary Club in Little Rock, Ark., will fund rebuilding in the nearby Lacombe area.

In early September, Northshore formalized an agreement with the First Church of the Nazarene to house volunteer teams, and administrative assistant Pat McQueen is thrilled with the arrangement. "They can house up to 50 volunteers at a time, with a big gymnasium, showers and a kitchen," she said.

The church joins a long list of other churches who are housing volunteers, including Aldersgate United Methodist Church, where Northshore’s offices are located. "This is truly an ecumenical effort," McQueen said.

Carter believes Northshore Disaster Recovery can serve as a model for other long-term responses. "I believe because of the magnitude of this disaster, our hands-on experience will serve to benefit others across the United States and the world," she said.

*Meister is the Gulf Coast communications consultant for the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

Related Articles

Gulf Coast thanks, celebrates Katrina volunteers

Katrina volunteers to receive hand-made prayer shawls

United Methodists help lead Katrina response

Churches rebuild, recreate ministries in Louisiana


Northshore Disaster Recovery Inc.

Louisiana United Methodist Disaster Recovery Ministry


Katrina stories

Ask Now

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.


*InfoServ ( about ) is a ministry of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add this address to your list of approved senders.

Would you like to ask any questions about this story?ASK US NOW

Original text