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November 12, 2004 Contact: AoA Press Office
(202) 401-4541

HHS Provides $42.6 Million in Hurricane Relief to Florida

Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced today that HHS is sending $42.6 million in supplemental hurricane relief funds to the state of Florida to provide mental health, substance abuse, medical and social services to people affected by hurricanes this year. This money is in addition to more than $12 million HHS previously made available to hurricane recovery efforts.

"Florida's families have endured a rough hurricane season this year,"
Secretary Thompson said. "President Bush is committed to providing the federal resources they need to rebuild their communities in the wake of the storms."

Four HHS agencies will administer the funding to Florida:

  • $17.2 million will come from the
    Administration on Aging (AoA) to provide support services for the elderly.
    The money will be used to pay for minor home repairs and chore services, meals, case management, individual and group counseling, and temporary housing.
  • $11 million will be awarded by the Substance
    Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to assist those in need of substance abuse and mental health clinic services, interventions, and treatment.
  • $12.9 million will be awarded from the
    Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to support domestic violence needs, adult services, assistance for the developmentally disabled, and for child welfare services.
  • $1.5 million from Health Resources and
    Services Administration (HRSA) will provide assistance to Florida community health centers that were impacted by the hurricanes.

This $42.6 million is in addition to funding HHS made available to Florida immediately after the storms, which
included $10 million in emergency one-time grants to Head Start and Early Head Start centers in Florida; $1 million
to assist DeSoto County Hospital and Osceola

Regional Hospital; $600,000 in emergency grants from AoA to help Florida officials provide meals, shelter and services to elderly residents; and a $600,000 emergency grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for technical health support, public health prevention and surveillance activities.

In addition, HHS deployed 700 people to help staff Florida shelters and hospitals, and to help provide logistical support as Floridians return to their homes throughout the response and recovery efforts after the hurricanes. This includes 600 Commissioned Corps officers, the uniformed service specifically designed to provide medical and public health care and assistance to Americans. Secretary Thompson has worked to make the 6,000-member corps more flexible and adept to handle emergency medical needs.

Finally, the hurricanes led to the largest coordinated effort in the history of the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). Twenty-three units, consisting of more than 400 volunteers, were activated to support efforts by FEMA and the American Red Cross in providing care to Florida families. The MRC is the medical component of President Bush's USA Freedom Corps Initiative. After the outpouring of support in the wake of Sept. 11, President Bush called on citizens to volunteer in their own communities setting up Citizen Corps volunteer programs. To date there are more than 27,500 volunteers among 212 MRC units across the country.