(Left to right): HUD SE Regional Administrator Ed Jennings, Jr., FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Operation HOPE Vice President of the Financial Dignity Center Ebenezer Walter Jackson, SBA SE Regional Administrator SBA Cassius Butts
HUD SE Regional Administrator Ed Jennings Jr. recently joined SBA SE Regional Administrator Cassius Butts to co-chair the Federal Government and Community Organization action group as an integral part of the Operation HOPE forum entitled Financial and Economic Disaster Recovery: People, Preparedness and the Price in Atlanta. Operation HOPE (HOPE), the financial dignity nonprofit, also hosted Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate to discuss the importance of financial preparedness planning for disasters and emergencies.
The Forum, entitled Financial and Economic Disaster Recovery: People, Preparedness and the Price, was the fifth installment of the 2013 HOPE Forum series. Administrator Fugate spoke about the important relationship between financial and economic recovery and a stable tax base, explaining how businesses can aid recovery efforts by providing jobs in recovering communities.
"Disasters can strike at any time and can affect people in profound ways, including financially," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "A key part of being prepared is to know the risks for where you live. Organizations like Operation HOPE can assist survivors before and after disasters to be financially resilient."
"Government and communities working together to provide essential services are integral components to building the kind of meaningful resilience that will help families and individuals prepare and recover prior to and after disasters and emergencies.” said HUD SE Regional Administrator Jennings. "The Federal Government and Community Organizations action group provided an opportunity to bring clarity to the essential role that we play in building synergies of effort to more effectively assist survivors as well as communities recover.”
The Forum engaged attendees in focused and strategic planning development to improve citizen preparedness. The more than 120 attendees were divided into three action groups that collaborated to develop real-life disaster preparation and recovery strategies.
The groups fell into one of three categories: corporations and large employers, emergency response and recovery officials, and government and community organizations. Results from these sessions will be compiled into a report to be used as suggested best practices for disaster preparedness.
"Our HOPE forum can jumpstart this critical dialogue about how business and community leaders can help ensure a timely recovery should a disaster occur, but true success of this effort will be measured by how we follow through in the days and weeks that follow," said Operation HOPE chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant. "Operation HOPE was honored to help facilitate this conversation between the most important actors at the state, federal and local levels and private industry about how to prepare our communities before disaster strikes."