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January 01 2008

Operation HOPE to Assist Victims of Southern California Firestorms

Organization's financial recovery arm joins as second phase efforts begin

Los Angeles – November 20, 2008 – Wind-fueled fires swept southern California last weekend devastating areas of Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside Counties and prompting HOPE Coalition America (HCA) the disaster preparedness and recovery division of Operation HOPE to provide disaster recovery services. At its peak, fire officials estimated that some 10,000 people were under orders to evacuate. Individuals with damaged or destroyed homes or who were impacted by the fires can call 888-388-4673 or visit www.operationhope.org for assistance.

"While we can't stop natural disasters, we can take actions that will expedite recovery and help us better prepare for future emergencies or disasters," said Fred Smith, HCA Managing Director. "Recreating your financial profile and filing an insurance claim without records while you're in the middle of a crisis is a burden that not only slows down your efforts to recover, it also adds additional stress to the entire recovery process."

Through its partnerships with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American Red Cross, National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD) and the Emergency Network of Los Angeles (ENLA), HCA will work with state and local agencies and their volunteers to provide information and guidance to help families and communities recover.

HCA free services include:

• Disaster Recovery Budget
• Paying a Mortgage on a Destroyed Home
• Home Inspections and Repair Contracts
• Assistance with Working with Your Creditors
• Referrals to Government and Private Agencies
• Assistance with Obtaining Copies of Destroyed Financial Documents
• Insurance Claims Assistance
• The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit and Personal Disaster Preparedness Guide

While first responders address immediate health, safety, and infrastructure needs after disasters, HCA strengthens that network by assisting individuals with the short, medium and long-term economic and financial challenges individuals face following disasters and emergencies.