A natural disaster takes a toll on people and devastates their communities. Hurricane Sandy swept over the East Coast at the end of October in 2012, and left many states without power, caused major damage to infrastructure, took the lives of more than 70 people, and forced many more to rebuild their lives and communities from the ground up.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) deployed an unprecedented amount of resources and personnel with a particular focus on the needs of children and their families. ACF provided Head Start and child care experts on the ground almost immediately after the storm to assess and respond to the needs of programs serving young children. Working alongside Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) employees were ACF’s personnel, guided by the Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response (OHSEPR).
Recognizing the need for additional support and resources in these hurricane-affected states, the President declared major disaster and worked with Congress to pass The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013.
With that action, ACF was able to award $475 million in Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) Supplemental Funds to five states - Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island – that were heavily impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
As these states continue their recovery and rebuilding efforts, the SSBG Supplemental Funds will help states address additional needs for social services to adults and children as a result of the hurricane. The funds may be used for child care, child welfare, special services for persons with disabilities, case management services, mental health services, and other services for disaster-affected populations. In addition, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act allows the use of SSBG Supplemental Funds to cover the costs of renovating, repairing, or rebuilding health care, child care, or other social services facilities that were affected by Hurricane Sandy.
There has been an unprecedented effort across federal, state, and local partners to work together to assess the needs and begin recovery. With our SSBG state partners as well as our colleagues in OHSEPR, Office of Head Start, Office of Family Assistance, Office of Child Care, and Office of Regional Operations, OCS and ACF will continue to support and assist the rebuilding efforts of Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.
For more information on the Social Services Block Grant, go to http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/programs/ssbg.