International Relief & Development Officers and Staff Build Home for Katrina Survivors in Woolmarket, Mississippi

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International Relief & Development (IRD), a major non-profit based in Arlington, VA, finished building a home for Hurricane Katrina survivors in Woolmarket, MS. IRD and the US Dept. of Labor manage YouthBuild, a program to teach at-risk youth construction skills and obtain employment. IRD has been active in the Gulf Region since 2005, operating offices in Mississippi and Louisiana.

IRD is committed to working for and with the vulnerable people along the Gulf Coast for as long as necessary to rebuild their lives and communities

International Relief and Development (IRD), a leading non-governmental organization that assists vulnerable people through relief, community stabilization and sustainable development, today announced its officers and staff participated in the construction of a home for a family that survived Hurricane Katrina. The new home was built in Woolmarket, Mississippi. IRD’s officers and staff are in Mississippi for the organization’s yearly Leadership Conference.

IRD has been active in the Gulf region since a few days after Katrina struck. Within days of the Hurricane, IRD sent a team to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to assess how best to contribute to relief and recovery efforts. Within a month, IRD had distributed nine tractor-trailer loads of food, water, clothing and health supplies to Biloxi, Gulfport, and other coastal towns in Mississippi. The supplies included everything from meals and hygiene products to bicycles and stuffed animals.

IRD is also committed to the long-term development of communities along the Gulf Coast. In November 2005, IRD established a Gulf Coast Social Services Center in Gulfport to assist hurricane survivors as they navigate the maze of existing social services while providing assistance with legal services and financial planning. While IRD staffs the center, local caseworkers and professional volunteers play a critical role in facilitating community outreach and assistance for survivors. In September 2009, IRD opened a second office in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to play a similar role in that community.

As part of IRD’s development efforts, the non-profit manages YouthBuild with the U.S. Department of Labor and state agencies. YouthBuild is a comprehensive program for vocational development, workforce training, and career counseling for Gulf Coast youth. At-risk high school students are trained how to assist in rebuilding homes for the elderly. At the same time, trainers assist them to obtain their GED. Thousands of young people have received constructions skills and a high school diploma that makes them attractive to potential employers. The house constructed in Woolmarket, MS is part of the YouthBuild program. IRD officers and staff completed the home on October 5.

“IRD is committed to working for and with the vulnerable people along the Gulf Coast for as long as necessary to rebuild their lives and communities,” said Dr. Arthur B. Keys, Jr., President and CEO of IRD.
For more information on IRD's work along the Gulf Coast and around the world, visit http://www.ird.org. You can also stay up-to-date on the latest information by following IRD on Facebook, Twitter (@ird_voices), Flickr, or YouTube.

IRD is a non-profit humanitarian and development organization dedicated to improving the lives and livelihoods of the world's most vulnerable people. IRD specializes in conflict and post-conflict environments and works in more than 40 countries. With the help of local groups and donors, IRD builds sustainable, community-based programs that address relief, stabilization and development needs in the areas of health, agriculture, infrastructure, emergency response, and governance. For more information on IRD, visit http://www.ird.org.

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