In the wake of Hurricane Katrina people around the nation took in Louisianans as they planned out their next moves. A rush of volunteers flocked to the city after the storm hit. But many organizations have reported a drop of volunteers in the recent efforts to rebuild the city.
Volunteers have shown up numbering in the thousands to do for New Orleans what the government has failed to do. College students, church members, councilmen, senior citizens, teens and business owners all making a move to clean up the ravished houses and streets left by the flood waters that poured into the city over a year ago.
Jay Boulivera 23, was a college student at the University of New Orleans before returning to the city to volunteer with Common Ground, an organization designed to help the residents of the Ninth Ward. "The city looked a wreck, after evacuating from this horrible disaster I knew that I had to come back and do something for a city that has done so much for me."
Just as wrecking deadlines for the city sets pressure on homeowners to gut their property volunteer efforts have come to a slight halt." Boulivera explains. "These homeowners could face property seizures or demolition and the waiting lists for free gutting services by volunteer organizations are still months long." "It could take years to get to all of them," he said.
Volunteer organizations blame the decline of volunteers to the start of school and hurricane season mainly. Spokeswoman for catholic Charities, Norma Clay, exclaims; "if it’s out of the news, it’s out of peoples minds." Working with Catholic Charities, Clay has brought hundreds of volunteers to the city. Clay admits that recruiting has become more difficult.
"We cannot forget about these people just one year later, residents have been skeptical about bouts with FEMA, insurance companies and utility companies.’
From gutting homes, working food lines, giving healthcare, financial assistance to giving legal advice, volunteers are still in high demand for the city of New Orleans.
Spokesman Charles Galufeur from Habitat for Humanity explains; "Habitat For Humanity has served our citizens in Louisiana for over a century, and we will continue to focus on long term recovery for the displaced residents of the Gulf Coast." "It’s never a convenient time to volunteer," he said. "But these volunteers have personal obligations to fulfill and wether they have the time or not they want to so they find the time to volunteer."
With a lack of volunteers in the city Spokesman Gary Bell explains, "We try to give priority to the elderly and people with special needs, but were not turning down anyone." said Gary who works for RHINO, rebuilding houses for New Orleans, which has more than 1,000 homeowners signed up for the re-gutting program.
"We are in need of volunteers our recruiting tactics have gotten more detailed scene August of 06′, we have been in search of volunteers high and low with a slight success rate and we refuse to give up."
With over 84 volunteer opportunities through organizations throughout the city the opportunity to volunteer is broad, and various positions need to be fulfilled throughout the city see NOLA.com for details.