SGER: Governmental and Voluntary Association Coordination and Evacuees' Experience of Assistance in Colorado

Project: Research project

Project Details


Hurricane Katrina required an extraordinary response from government and voluntary organizations. While the most devastating impact was in the Gulf Coast and neighboring states, states throughout the country accepted evacuees. Colorado received well over 2000 evacuees in the initial weeks following the Hurricane, many housed in a temporary shelter at an old air force base in a county neighboring Denver. Evacuees continued arriving even a month later, with as many as 30 new evacuees a day arriving in need of services in mid-October when temporary shelters in Lousiana were phased out. To respond to this substantial need, state and local officials had to determine where to provide housing, how to provide medical care, what cash assistance evacuees needed, and how to get children settled into schools. A significant portion of these efforts relied on the work of private agencies, as they become increasingly central to provision of aid. This research examines how Colorado coordinated delivery of services to evacuees. How did the churches and other charities advocate for evacuees, provide goods, and assist in accessing social services? Who coordinated crisis services and will there be a coordinated long-term response?

Evacuees suffered a trauma in fleeing their homes. This research also examines how evacuees experienced that trauma? What aspects of the experience were most stressful for them? What external supports and resources and which internal coping skills helped evacuees get through the days, weeks, and months following involuntary relocation to a new state? Did they come with friends or family or community members, and to what extent have they been able to connect with communities in Colorado? How did evacuees experience receipt of services and how are evacuees faring psychologically now and over time? How has poverty compounded the experience of being an evacuee?

Finally, the news has been full of stories about evacuees. Most Americans learn about evacuees from the news rather than from personal experience. This research also examines the type, range, and depth of the information presented by the print and televised news media. We will track and analyze news coverage in Colorado over the course of a year to examine the media's initial response, and also how coverage changes as the disaster fades from public consciousness.

Effective start/end date11/15/0510/31/07


  • National Science Foundation: $139,210.00


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