Thursday, June 29, 2006

Big $ for Coastal

Hmmm, working on vacation sucks. Remind me not to do it any more.

The only thing that has sweetened my displeasure with jumping through all the hoops to bypass what Hands On Network has set in hard code for their website is what I saw on MississippiPA.org this morining. What is MississippiPA.org? Well, PA stands for Public Assistance, which is the program that enables the Federal government, through FEMA, to give money to states, local governments, and selected private non-profits like Coastal Family Health Center, which is a community health care center, in the wake of natural disasters.

The Hands On groups and Project Hope have supported, and continue to support, Coastal through its rebuilding. As volunteers might recall, Jack Blanks showered us with Hope Nurses, while Nate Harrold lead the charge to turn 5 donated trailers from Merck into 1 operational, temporary clinic for the residents of Moss Point. That Moss Point effort was made possible by about $300,000 of a $400,000 grant that Project Hope gave Coastal.

Last week, Coastal got the nod for a $3 million from the Qatar government to cover operational expenses. Back in April, Coastal applied for a $6M Emergency Social Services Block grant. The state finally announced Coastal would receive the money it requested to build permanent facilities in Moss Point, Bay St. Louis, and Biloxi. Yes, $6,000,000 from the state and $3,000,000 from Qatar!!!!

The news couldn't be better for the residents of Biloxi and the Gulf Coast! Go Coastal and everyone who worked on the Emergency Social Services Block grant. In case anyone keeps track, this is the very same $6M I asked President Bush and Governor Barbour for when they came to visit our place back in April.

The money doesn't stop there, though. Finally, after about a 4 month lapse in effort, FEMA finally started giving Coastal money. I don't want to misrepresent John Taylor, the new FEMA contractor who works like a dog to get Coastal's project work sheets in the system (heck, John even comes out to do mold with us on Sundays!!). It's just that his predecessor took his sweet time putting in PW's, and oh yeah, FEMA is a government agency that moves about as fast as molasses at Absolute Zero (that's zero Kelvin ... or -459.67 F, which is really cold, so the molasses moves really slowly, or not at all).

Science lessons aside, this morning, just before the weekly conference call to discuss Coastal issues, I saw that MississippiPA.org had a new entry ... $157,000 for a computer system that Coastal bought to keep track of patient visits and billing. Awesome!!! This is the first direct result of my white-collar efforts on the coast. I have been down here since 20 January 2006, working on FEMA claims for Coastal. John, Chuck Clark (Coastal IT), Chip Cyr (IT consultant) and I worked together to collect narratives, explain the system to John, and write up a few itemized spreadsheets of expenditures. Without everyone's help, this wouldn't have gone through as easily as it did.

You don't know how excited this makes me. Finally, proof positive I'm not spinning my wheels down here and I have contributed something to the community despite not going out all that often on crews! Coincidentally, it's awesome we finally have a great FEMA Project Officer (John Taylor) working with us to get the claims through the system. Go John! Go FEMA!

Remote excitement from the frustrated Base Manager,

:: Chris ::

1 comment:

kris said...

nice work with Fema Chris. Keep on chugging.