SUGAR LAND, Texas, June 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 3 in 5 American adults (57%) have experienced a natural disaster that resulted in some form of damage or loss during their lifetime, according to a recent online survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Project Porchlight, a post-disaster financial recovery program of the nonprofit Money Management International (MMI). Among impacted disaster survivors who experienced damage or loss, 42% incurred out-of-pocket expenses to replace or repair items not covered by insurance. In order to pay for expenses incurred as a result of a natural disaster, 48% tapped savings or retirement funds, while 36% used credit cards or personal loans to finance their recovery.
Natural disasters can disproportionately challenge financially vulnerable households and highlight the need for a comprehensive recovery program, including personalized steps survivors should follow in the aftermath. Nearly 3 in 4 (74%) of those who experienced a financial burden as a result of a disaster say there is something they could have been offered that would have improved their financial recovery, including help finding the right resources, a personalized post-disaster plan, or help navigating insurance claims and/or denial appeals. These results reinforce a recent Urban Institute research report, suggesting that "existing disaster relief programs and other forms of assistance, along with private sources of insurance and support, do not fully protect those affected by natural disasters from their financial consequences."
Beyond the immediate chaos of a disaster, survivors may face a daunting number of unique financial challenges, including understanding their rights, responsibilities, and recovery options. MMI's Project Porchlight focuses on guiding these individuals and families towards financial stability. The program utilizes MMI's nationwide network of HUD-approved counselors, equipped with specialized, disaster-focused training. Counselors help clients develop and implement a recovery plan to improve their resilience and minimize the long-term financial impact.
"We're excited to have confirmation that Project Porchlight truly does offer the type of assistance survivors need as they navigate recovery," said Kate Bulger, director of business development and Project Porchlight's visionary at MMI. "Our tailored approach combines assessment and plan development with monthly check-ins, online resources, creditor coordination, and aid application or denial assistance, which we know will greatly help survivors as they move from crisis to control."
Project Porchlight is currently available through Fannie Mae's Disaster Response Network to any Fannie Mae homeowner who experiences a disaster. MMI is working to expand the availability of Project Porchlight, with the goal of making it available to anyone impacted by a natural disaster or catastrophic event in the United States and its territories. For more information visit MoneyManagement.org/Porchlight.
About the Survey
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Project Porchlight from April 16-18, 2019 among 2,024 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,186 experienced a natural disaster that resulted in some form of damage/loss. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Thomas.Nitzsche@MoneyManagement.org.
Money Management International (MMI) is changing the way financial challenges are solved. MMI helps create, restore and maintain a life of financial wellness through empowered financial choices. For over 60 years, our clients have achieved financial confidence through nonprofit programs that educate, motivate, and liberate. MMI inspires action though expert professional guidance and solutions that are practical, timely, and aligned with our client's goals. Experiencing a financial challenge? Find your solution 24/7 at 866.864.8995 and MoneyManagement.org.
SOURCE Money Management International