A Leader of Disaster Response
A Future With Hope has been a leader of disaster response in New Jersey since Superstorm Sandy and its networks and relationships with state, federal and local agencies have been reactivated int he wake of COVID-19. Members of the team, alongside Tom O’Hearn, GNJ’s Disaster Response Coordinator, serve as our representatives on the following state, regional and national groups who are meeting weekly to provide guidance for how to engage volunteers and communicate needs:
- NJ VOAD
- NY VOAD
- PA VOAD
- NJ Office of Emergency Management
- FEMA for Emergency Assistance and Housing
- FEMA for Logistics and Resource Support
- NEJ UMVIM Disaster Response
The team funnels information to GNJ leadership which helps inform our calls to action on the COVID-19 Resources pages. As the situation unfolds, A Future Withe Hope will advise on the best ways for churches to engage in relief and recovery.
Financial Assistance for People through VOAD
Whether it be for food, health, rent, or utilities, we know that people in our communities need help. We want to make sure our clergy and laity know where to find it.
Food assistance, cash assistance and health insurance
Short-term rental assistance in NJ
Information available beginning June 15.
Red Cross Virtual Family Assistance Center
Emotional support and grief counseling, funeral services, legal resources, financial information, and veterans assistance.
Documenting Volunteer Hours
GNJ urges their 540 churches and 23 Hope Centers to keep rigorous track, both electronically and on paper, of the number of hours that volunteers are providing during the COVID-19 health crisis.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires that all funding from its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), money that goes toward an action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural disasters, be matched by a local not-for-profit corporation with 25 percent.
However, FEMA allows the organization to match funding with “in-kind” contributions related to the project. In-kind contributions can include the following but exclude cash contributions by a third party:
- Volunteer labor hours
- Donation of use of property (e.g., for 12-step programs)
- Food for food pantries and contributions to food banks
- Clothes for clothes closets and drives
- Cost of transportation
- Special-event costs
While FEMA has not yet announced HMGP funding for COVID-19-related activities, it is anticipated that such funding may be available during the recovery phase of the COVID-19 response. In Superstorm Sandy, FEMA’s program was a major source of funding for rebuilding.
“It is a good practice in general for not-for-profit organizations to keep track of in-kind contributions, as well as to congratulate volunteers for their donated goods and services,” said Rick Reinhard, executive director of A Future With Hope, GNJ’s vital mission partner.
The New Jersey VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), represented by GNJ’s Volunteer Disaster Relief Coordinator Tom O’Hearn and Hope Center Developer Tara Maffei, also strongly advocates that not-for-profit organizations keep track of in-kind contributions now, in preparation for potential FEMA funding.