[FoRK] Katrina refugee adoptive family matching service

Stephen D. Williams sdw
Thu Sep 1 15:01:13 PDT 2005

I would create and test a service first before suggesting this, but I am 
busy for at least the next 2 days, there might be someone already doing 
this, and some of you might be interested in helping:

In a disaster of this scale and permanence, it makes sense for families 
to become functional somewhere as soon as possible.  While many may have 
family and friends nearby or the ability to reestablish a household in a 
nearby area, the prospects seem bleak for such a large number of people 
all at once.

For those who are more interested in getting children to school, getting 
jobs, and rebuilding their life, it may make more sense to find refuge 
to begin that process wherever it may be.  For those of us who have 
space and inclination, it would be nice to be able to quickly match, 
vet, invite, and logistically move such a family into their home.  This 
might be a temporary or extended temporary arrangement and it could 
benefit from some kind of formal "refugee rental" agreement, but it 
should be doable for many families.

In the case of Katrina, it looks like a huge amount of housing and 
business is a total loss and based on the number of people, some could 
be hanging around in stadiums for many weeks or more.

What is needed is a web application that functions as a family pairing 
service, basing matches on ages of children, smoking/non-smoking and 
other attributes, religious preference, professions in an area, etc.  
Something usable from a web browser on a PDA phone (like a Treo 650) 
would make sense for roving interviewers.

While my house is getting full, I have sufficient living space that 
could be used by a family for a while.  Without this kind of service, 
there's no obvious way to find or evaluate any possibilities.

Is anyone doing this?  I see that Rotary International organizes quite a 
bit of aid.  There are a lot of other types of aid programs, but I've 
found nothing like this.  Once a web service is created, the next step 
would be to explore the legal and logistical aspects.  One place that 
might make sense is the Office of Justice Progams of DOJ and others 
which have grant money.  Possibly FEMA could justify paying 
transportation costs in lieu of emergency shelter.

Forward or post this if you think it is a good idea; I'll coordinate and 
participate as I can.  Alternatively, point out where this is being done 
well already.

Stephen D. Williams
sdw at lig.net 703-371-9362 cell, Washington DC Metro area

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