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July 27 2006

Operation HOPE Awarded One Million Dollars to Continue Hurricane Katrina and Rita Related Aid Work to Mississippi

New Grant allows HOPE to broaden its range of services to the Gulf region
(Gulfport, MS) Thursday, July 27, 2006 – Operation HOPE today announced a $1.1 million contract from the Mississippi Development Authority to provide financial counseling to Mississippians recovering from Hurricane Katrina.  
With the grant HOPE Coalition America, Operation HOPE’s national emergency preparedness division and FEMA partner, will continue its economic recovery work in Mississippi providing the following free services to families:
•        Recovery Budgeting and the Use of Grant Funds
•        Identifying Repairs and Desired Improvements
•        Selecting a Qualified Building Contractor
•        Grant, Existing Loan and New Loan Processes
•        Monitoring the Process and Paying the Contractor
•        Avoiding Legal Problems and Preventing Fraud
•        Hire additional staff in Gulfport, Biloxi and Bay St. Louis
“We know that many of our families are facing tough economic hardships. Living through a catastrophic disaster is bad enough. Dealing with a financial disaster complicates things even more. Tens of thousands have lost their homes, their jobs, and their communities. I am encouraged that this grant to Project Restore HOPE, through HOPE Coalition America, will help bring financial recovery to the survivors,” said CEO and founder of Operation HOPE John Hope Bryant. “Now we have the capabilities to help these victims recover economically by providing resources, education and general financial counsel, things many of these victims have never had.  It’s only through one-on-one counseling with financial advisors that people will start to return to financial wholeness.”
According to Leland Speed, Executive Director of Mississippi Development Authority, “These services are essential at a time when most people have forgotten about the victims of the 2005 hurricanes.  Now, we have services that can assist all of the Mississippi community in order get their lives normalized and once again provide for their families.”
HOPE continues to have a positive impact on the residence of the Gulfport region in particular the State of Mississippi. The new grant will allow more focus on housing, community and infrastructure issues concerning families and individuals impacted by the 2005 Hurricanes. Sponsored by First American Corporation, HCA operates a national toll-free call center, where it continues to provide guidance and assistance to individuals affected by disaster. To date, the call center has assisted more than 11,000 victims with emergency financial counseling and economic triage. Victims interested in finding out more about the program can find out by calling 888-388-HOPE (4673).
Project Restore HOPE was created to coordinate HOPE’s national emergency response. It provides focused ongoing relief to the overwhelming demand for “economic triage” to the victims of Katrina. HOPE began working in Mississippi shortly after the storm devastated the state.