The Rebuild Program of Episcopal Community Services (ECS) serves the Greater New Orleans area. Originally part of the Louisiana Diocese Office of Disaster Response, the program utilizes volunteers to restore the flooded homes of those who are in economic distress, but are not gaining access to recovery and rebuilding resources. This includes the elderly, the disabled, and households with children. The program started in January 2006 as a volunteer house-gutting operation. They launched their rebuild phase in March 2007. Since then, with the help of thousands of volunteers working with professional contractors, they have provided services valued at over $5 million to over 900 families in need. The organization does whatever repair work is necessary to get residents back into their homes. They have completed over 60 houses and are currently working on about eight more, then will be looking to start new projects as additional funding becomes available. (ECS Office of Disaster Response) / (ECS Rebuild Program)
Immediately after Hurricane Katrina, Lutheran-Episcopal Services established Camp Coast Care in Long Beach, Mississippi, as an emergency distribution center and medical care facility. The camp then began focusing on reconstruction of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, using volunteers to repair and rebuild houses so that coastal residents could move out of temporary housing and back into their homes. The program subsequently moved to Hancock County, ground zero for Hurricane Katrina, and in partnership with other camps and rebuilding organizations was renamed Mission on the Bay. Collectively, the camps associated with Mission on the Bay have brought in over 60,000 volunteers from all over the world, and many have come several times. These volunteers have worked in the realm of 2.5 million hours, amounting to a value of $45 million in services. They have gutted approximately 3500 flooded homes, and repaired or built over 550. Rebuilding lives rather than just homes, they have provided case management services to more than 3200 people. Although the work is far from finished, in July 2010, Mission on the Bay (now known as "Futures for Families") announced that it would be closing its doors. Please read the powerful and inspiring story of their amazing five-years of dedicated service.
Nashville Flood Relief
In response to the devastating floods in Nashville and other parts of Tennessee in May 2010, Episcopal Community Services in New Orleans made the overwhelmingly kind and generous suggestion that part of their share of the proceeds go to aid flood victims in Nashville. After much consideration, Gulf Coast Relief, Inc. has decided that half of proceeds from CDs sold in the Nashville area will go to aid local flood victims. Rather than selecting a single charity, proceeds from any CDs sold by artists at their merchandise tables, or by local churches or other organizations, will be donated to the charity chosen by the person or organization responsible for the CD sales. Proceeds from other CD sales will go to our original mission, which is to help those in New Orleans who remain displaced from their homes a full five years after Katrina.
The Cost of Building
On average, ECS volunteers can rebuild a house in about 6 months for a little more than $30,000, far less than what most homeowners have to pay general contractors.