Alexandria, Va. (September 23, 2015) – Responding to Pope Francis’ plea that all people work together in caring for creation and the poor, Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) announced today that CCUSA will join with the White House to help local communities prepare for and be resilient to natural disasters associated with climate change. This collaboration, through AmeriCorps VISTA, will expand upon Resilience AmeriCorps, a new initiative led by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to increase civic engagement and community resilience in low-income areas and help local leaders as they plan for and address the impact of extreme weather events. CCUSA is particularly concerned with communities which are most vulnerable, such as those densely populated with low-income households and with individuals living on the margins, given the disproportionate impact of natural disasters on these fragile groups.
“Today’s announcement is part of an ongoing effort by the Administration to identify opportunities to increase resilience among marginalized populations,” Sister Markham said. “Catholic Charities will leverage its national network to convene interfaith conversations, share best practices and disseminate preparedness information.”
CCUSA will encourage the more than 160 Catholic Charities agencies across the country to take advantage of tools and information provided by several federal agencies, including (among others) the CNCS, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration. Resilience AmeriCorps members placed with Catholic Charities agencies will develop plans to meet the needs of immigrant communities as part of preparedness planning, including improving language access to necessary services and reducing other support barriers.