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SAMHSA Press Releases

Date: March 17 , 2006
Media Contact: SAMHSA Press
Telephone: 240-276-2130



Florida Receives Over $16 Million for Hurricane Crisis Counseling Aid



Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Administrator Charles Curie today announced the award of $16.5 million to Florida 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 $59 million. When combined with the early round of “Immediate Services” crisis counseling grants, over $82 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 third set of grants that were ready of approximately 20 grants to be awarded 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.

The State of Florida is offering crisis counseling services to residents and evacuees affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma through the “Helping Our People in Emergencies” Program. Known as Project HOPE, the program establishes a statewide network of outreach teams to develop a comprehensive crisis counseling support system for evacuees from other gulf coast States as well as for Floridians affected by these two storms. Florida has been approved for up to $6,900,410 for services related to Hurricane Katrina and for up to $9,740,423.35 for services related to Hurricane Wilma




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