2-1-1 In the News
The City Paper (Nashville)
November 04, 2005
job hunters yet
JUDITH R. TACKETT
Hurricane evacuees from the Gulf States are not yet
looking for jobs here in Nashville, according to
participation rates in local job fairs.
A job fair held at Centennial Park a couple of weeks ago
saw about 1,000 job providers for approximately 40
evacuees. An earlier job fair at Nashville Career
Advancement Center attracted only 56 hurricane victims,
Career Advancement Center Director Susan Cowden said.
The Nashville Career Advancement Center intends to get
more aggressive with the help of a federal grant to
specifically reach out to hurricane evacuees who intend
to stay in the area and help them find employment.
“I think a lot of people are just still trying to make
that decision as to whether they’re going to stay or
not,” Cowden said. “We’ve probably had several hundred
people come through our center here and most of them are
right now interested in filing for their unemployment
insurance benefits and making sure they have their
immediate income needs met.”
The federal Department of Labor committed $15 million to
fund about 150 skilled reintegration counselors for six
months in 12 states, including Tennessee.
Evacuee needs are still high, according to Doug Fluegel,
the United Way’s 2-1-1 manager.
“We’ve recorded about 260 evacuee needs on Oct. 5, and
now we’ve recorded about 505,” Fluegel said about the
most recent call report of the 2-1-1 help line.
“The types of needs really haven’t changed much,”
Fluegel continued. “Permanent housing is still the
number one call type we get and financial assistance is
number two, and then food is number three.”
Federal housing programs appear to be running smoothly.
Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA)
Director Phil Ryan said his organization has given out
15 Section 8 Housing vouchers under the U.S. Housing and
Urban Development’s Katrina Disaster Housing Assistance
Program. MDHA has also relocated 14 families into public
The families can receive the HUD assistance through MDHA
for up to 18 months.
Jim Kelly with Catholic Charities in New Orleans said he
believes an extremely high percentage of evacuees want
to return to their home city.
Especially in New Orleans, family traditions and
cultural heritage will attract people to come home,
Kelly said. But restrictions in carrying voucher
assistance from one place to another may be in the way
of many evacuees returning home quickly.
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