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SAMHSA Press Releases

Date: March 1 , 2006
Media Contact: SAMHSA Press
Telephone: 240-276-2130



Texas , Georgia, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Receive Over $19 Million for Hurricane Katrina Crisis Counseling Aid


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Administrator Charles Curie today announced the award of $19.2 million to Texas, Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri and Colorado for crisis counseling assistance in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. These grants are awarded through a longstanding and highly successful partnership between SAMHSA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

These awards bring the total amount awarded for these “Regular Services “crisis counseling grants to over $41.2 million. When combined with the early round of “Immediate Services” crisis counseling grants, over $66 million in federal crisis counseling support has been made available to states to date. More grants will be awarded in coming weeks.

This is the second set of grants that were ready of approximately 20 grants to be awarded in this round to enable states to address ongoing counseling needs of persons adversely affected by the hurricanes, regardless of whether they are residing in their home states or are resettling in other areas. States will receive a portion of the funds initially, with the remaining approved funds released as service needs continue.

“The impact of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma is unprecedented,” Curie said.  “Most survivors are demonstrating remarkable resiliency and are rebuilding theirs lives.  However, for some survivors the psychological impact of their experiences is potentially both serious and long lasting.   These new grants are part of a broader federal effort to assure that emotional and psychological well-being are addressed in the overall recovery process.”

The crisis counseling program will hire and train people locally to provide outreach to survivors of the hurricanes who need mental health services. This outreach will include mobile services in which trained workers go to the places where disaster survivors are congregating, such as shelters, disaster recovery centers, or temporary hotels, and provide supportive contacts, educational materials and brief counseling services.

“I am genuinely heartbroken over the trauma that the victims of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma have suffered,” said R. David Paulison, Acting FEMA Director.  “The federal partnership between the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and SAMHSA demonstrates the administration’s continued commitment to providing resources to assist these hurricane victims in every way possible.”

The awards announced today are part of an ongoing crisis counseling effort. Twenty-nine states received Immediate Services Program grants totaling $ 25.8 million within weeks of the hurricanes. These new Regular Service Program grants will support services for up to nine months of additional assistance. Services supported through both the Immediate and the Regular Service programs include outreach, brief counseling, support groups, and public education.

Texas has been hosting hundreds of thousands of evacuees from Louisiana and Mississippi who began arriving there 48 hours prior to Katrina’s landfall and continued to pour into the state for weeks after. To assist with the unique crisis counseling needs of this unusually large number of displaced individuals spread over 250 of the state’s 254 counties, Texas was approved for up to $12,127,752 to continue outreach and support services.

Georgia will provide crisis counseling services to hurricane evacuees scattered throughout Georgia to assist them in adjusting to their new communities and coping with the losses, fears, and anxieties related to their situations. A statewide network of outreach teams will work with individuals and groups to develop a comprehensive support system for evacuees. Georgia has been approved for up to $3,238,757.

Colorado’s crisis counseling program, the “Colorado Hurricane Evacuee Support and Recovery Project” (CHESRP), provides individual and group educational and counseling services to hurricane evacuees through outreach teams deployed across the state. Colorado has been approved for up to $1,167,078.

Outreach workers have been distributed across Illinois to work with individuals and families to link them to appropriate services. These workers are also assisting relocated evacuees to help them determine how they will return to their home states if they so desire. Illinois has been approved for $643,104 in FEMA Crisis Counseling Program funds.

Missouri’s Lighthouse Project will offer the full range of crisis counseling services to hurricane evacuees through outreach efforts, including a statewide telephone crisis hotline and community education services. Emphasis will be placed on working with local community providers and establishing relationships with groups serving evacuees throughout the state. Missouri has been approved for a total of $545,086.

The “Pennsylvania Responds” crisis counseling program will provide education and outreach to several thousand adults and children relocated primarily to the communities of Philadelphia and Allegheny County and will collaborate with other state providers to ensure the needs of all Katrina evacuees who remain in the state are addressed. Pennsylvania has been approved for up to $1,103,070.

Project Hope in Wisconsin is a community-based disaster recovery program addressing the crisis counseling needs of individual evacuees and families who have experienced loss of their homes, workplaces, and support networks. The state plans to work with evacuees in a culturally sensitive manner to provide outreach services. Wisconsin has been approved for a total of $433,099.



SAMHSA, is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is responsible for improving the accountability, capacity and effectiveness of the nation’s substance abuse prevention, addictions, treatment, and mental health services delivery system.



SAMHSA is An Agency of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Service