$600 Million in Disaster and Social Services Assistance Released

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Contact: ACF Press Office
(202) 401-9215


HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today announced the release of $600 million in disaster and social services assistance to help those impacted by hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters in 2008 as well as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. 

The Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) supplemental funds are expected to provide individuals and families with customary social services and health services (including mental health services), and assist states in the repair, renovation and construction of health care and mental health facilities, child care centers and other social service facilities.

“The release of these funds will help address the difficulties facing individuals and communities as a result of natural disasters and continue the rebuilding from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita,” Secretary Leavitt said.

Three-fourths of the HHS distribution, or $450 million, is granted to those states affected by major natural disasters declared by President George W. Bush that occurred between Jan. 1, 2008 and Sept. 30, 2008, the date the law for the disaster assistance was enacted.

States funded by the 2008 major disaster formula include: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.  The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico is included in this formula as well.

The remaining $150 million is distributed to the following states continuing their recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas. 

HHS used the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Registrant Application Current Location by State Report for Individual Assistance and the 2007 Census state population data of the states affected by the major disasters as resources.

“This help supports social services for individuals most in need, including children, the elderly and persons with disabilities, and it will also assist in the restoration of the communities of individuals impacted by disasters,” said Yolanda J. Butler, Ph.D., acting director of the Office of Community Services at HHS’ Administration for Children and Families.

The funds released today are in addition to the regular annual appropriation for SSBG, which will be considered by the Congress in the next few months.  The program is currently operating through March 6, 2009 at an annual rate of $1.7 billion under a temporary budget measure for Fiscal Year 2009.