CHUD secures AmeriCorps grant
for community disaster training


Texas’ colonias residents will soon be better prepared to avoid and contend with disasters of all types with the help of emergency preparedness training provided through Texas A&M’s Center for Housing and Urban Development.

The training, made possible by a $1.3 million, four-year AmeriCorps grant, will be provided to CHUD’s promotoras, specially trained social workers who provide myriad services to colonias residents.

Colonias are impoverished, unincorporated and relatively undeveloped villages near population centers along the U.S. side of the U.S.- Mexico border, many of which lack basic necessities such as potable water, electricity and sewer systems.

The promotoras will be trained by 21 AmeriCorps volunteers using the Community Emergency Response Training curriculum, said Oscar Muñoz, CHUD deputy director.

Through CERT instruction, trainees will learn how to help their communities minimize the effects of a disaster and facilitate recovery by:

  • Describing the types of hazards that are most likely to affect their homes and communities,

•    Take steps to prepare for a disaster,

  • Identify and reduce potential fire hazards in the home or workplace,
  • Conduct triage under simulated disaster conditions,
  • Perform head-to-toe patient assessments,
  • Employ basic treatments for various wounds, apply splints to suspected fractures and sprains, and
  • Describe ways to protect rescuers during light search and rescue operations.

“Organizations receiving funding were selected through a highly competitive process,” according to the OneStar Foundation: Texas Center for Social Impact, a nonprofit entity that administers the AmeriCorps grant program in Texas. “This funding will support AmeriCorps Texas members who will have a direct, positive impact on communities across the state of Texas.”

The AmeriCorps grant provides $336,000 annually through 2012 to support the training programs, said Muñoz.

CHUD serves a population along the 1,254 mile-long border between Texas and Mexico including residents in more than 2,000 colonias.

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