"Hurricane Katrina devastated the lives of thousands of men, women
and children. One year after the tragedy, we must remember those who
died or lost their homes and keep in mind that there are thousands
more who still need help to get their lives back in order,"
Blagojevich said. "A year ago, Illinois stepped up to the plate and
helped more than 10,000 victims find shelter, food, medical care and
even schools for their children. And we will continue helping
evacuees living in Illinois for as long as they need assistance.
Today we must also remember and commend all those in Illinois who
helped thousands of people from the Gulf states in their time of
In order to strengthen the state's commitment to look after
its guests, Blagojevich has directed the Illinois Department of
Human Services to make sure Katrina evacuees are not at risk for
homelessness. Starting in October and running through September of
2007, the department will implement a program that will offer
Katrina evacuees up to three months of rental assistance, two months
of security deposit assistance, delinquent utilities assistance, as
well as medical, transportation, education, and job training and
Working with federal authorities, Illinois took more than 10,000
evacuees from New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana after
Hurricane Katrina devastated the region. Illinois also provided
National Guardsmen and other emergency workers to assist with the
rescue and cleanup operations in the areas ravaged by the storm.
In the first few months after the tragedy, the state provided
temporary housing for hundreds of Katrina guests who came to the
state in FEMA-sponsored flights. Illinois helped connect thousands
more with state services ranging from health care to schools,
unemployment assistance, job training and referrals, food stamps,
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and much more.
The Illinois Department of Human Services also worked with other
state and local agencies, as well as not-for-profit organizations
and private and public institutions across the state, to reach out
to hundreds of sheltered individuals to offer continuous assistance
for those who came to the state in FEMA-sponsored flights or managed
to arrive in Illinois on their own.
Mental health crisis counseling, assessments and referrals, and
emotional support were among the assistance offered to hundreds of
guests through a number of ongoing activities that allowed the state
to reach out to thousands of evacuees individually to make sure
their needs were being taken care of. Since February of this year,
the Department of Human Services has made over 2,500 contacts
through telephone and door-to-door outreach with Katrina evacuees,
as well as Help Fairs that have been hosted in Chicago, Harvey,
Aurora and East St. Louis.
To date, more than 6,000 evacuees still live in Illinois, with
about a third in the Chicago area and many others in the Rockford
and East St. Louis areas. Most have been able to find permanent
housing, either through federally funded Section 8 arrangements or
on their own.
After Hurricane Katrina made landfall on Aug. 29, 2005,
Blagojevich ordered all state agencies to respond in a coordinated
manner to help the recovery and cleanup efforts in the Gulf Coast
and the victims coming into Illinois. The main efforts undertaken by
the state included the following:
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2,600 Illinoisans to help Louisiana respond to the devastation
resulting from Hurricane Katrina. The deployments included 900
firefighters and more than 1,100 National Guard troops.
unemployment claims on behalf of displaced victims through the
Illinois Department of Employment Security and facilitating job
searches and job training.
than 100 state employees to help the Louisiana Department of
Social Services process 25,000 evacuees for emergency food
stamps, unemployment benefits, temporary housing and other
assistance. All totaled, about 130 Illinois State employees
representing more than a dozen agencies assisted Hurricane
Katrina victims in the Gulf Coast region.
special phone line to provide Hurricane Katrina victims with
immediate assistance regarding social services offered by the
state of Illinois, including health care, crisis counseling,
food stamps, K-12 public school registration, and services for
veterans, seniors and people with disabilities.
Sending more than
130 highly trained law enforcement officers from state and local
agencies to Louisiana. These included
weapons-of-mass-destruction teams, tactical response teams,
underwater dive teams, a mobile command post, various
all-terrain vehicles, boats and trucks.
Sending 52 members
of the Illinois Medical Emergency Response Teams to Louisiana to
assist with care of the massive number of sick and injured
Blagojevich issued the following proclamation marking this date
as Katrina Day of Remembrance in Illinois.
WHEREAS, on August
29, 2005, the Gulf Coast was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, leaving
thousands of people without homes and taking the lives of hundreds
WHEREAS, in the
wake of this terrible tragedy, states throughout the nation,
including Illinois, as well as nations all across the world provided
much needed assistance for the relief, recovery and cleanup
WHEREAS, with the
need to help hundreds of thousands of displaced residents, other
states opened their doors to the victims and assisted those
individuals and families in getting their lives back in order. Here
in Illinois, the outpouring of support from our citizens was
wonderful, taking in more than 10,000 people from the Gulf states
ravaged by the storm, and providing them with health care, food,
shelter, and schools for their children; and
involvement went beyond providing just emergency care. Anyone
displaced by the hurricane who wished to stay in Illinois, stayed,
and we continue to provide services for those who need them; and
WHEREAS, on the one
year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Illinois takes time to
remember this great national tragedy, and pay tribute to those who
were killed or displaced in its ravages. We also take this
opportunity to commend all those in Illinois who opened their hearts
and arms to their brothers and sisters in distress:
THEREFORE, I, Rod
R. Blagojevich, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby
proclaim August 29, 2006 as KATRINA DAY OF REMEMBRANCE in Illinois,
in tribute to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and the
compassionate Illinoisans who assisted them in their time of need.
[News release from the governor's