Friday, September 16, 2005

Ford Introduces Disaster Relief Corps Legislation

Congressman Harold Ford today announced the introduction of legislation that would create a 10,000 member Disaster Relief Corps to provide relief and recovery assistance to regions affected by catastrophic emergencies and disasters.

In a statement, Ford said:

"As the nation begins to emerge from Hurricane Katrina's devastation, we must look ahead to ensure that our government's inadequate response to victims' needs not be repeated the next time disaster strikes. One of Katrina's most critical lessons is that, while government must assume a lead role in disaster recovery, it cannot act alone.

"That is why I have introduced the Disaster Relief Corps Act of 2005, which will create a dedicated team of 10,000 disaster relief specialists within the existing AmeriCorps program. This highly skilled Disaster Relief Corps will help victims of a disaster rebuild their lives by providing urgent supplies and relocation assistance, constructing temporary housing for evacuees and providing much-needed teaching help at schools where displaced children have enrolled. The Disaster Relief Corps will also help local businesses get back on their feet and provide employment services for victims, such as job training and job placement assistance.

"National service has never been more important or been ready to play a more important role than it is today. Hurricane Katrina and the attacks of 9/11 showed us the kind of devastation that is possible from both natural and man-made causes. The Disaster Relief Corps will harness the tremendous outpouring of civic pride and volunteerism that we have all witnessed in recent days and put it to work to rebuild America."

Representatives Susan Davis, Tom Osborne, David Price and Chris Shays are co-sponsoring the House measure. Senator Barack Obama is introducing a companion bill in the Senate.

AmeriCorps provides needed assistance to millions of Americans. Since 1994, more than 400,000 men and women have provided needed assistance to millions of Americans across the nation through their AmeriCorps service.