United Spinal Association has received a $500,000 grant from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation to support weather-related disaster relief efforts for the spinal cord injury and disease (SCI/D) community.

“This significant grant from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation will benefit people whose needs United Spinal is uniquely in a position to help,” says James Weisman, United Spinal’s president and CEO.

“Wheelchair users and other people living with disabilities face additional challenges in the aftermath of weather-related disasters, including loss of accessible housing, mobility equipment, and medically necessary supplies that pose great risks to their well-being,” adds Weisman, in a media release from United Spinal Association.

Funds from the grant will be utilized for United Spinal’s Resource Center to add dedicated disaster relief staff, a call-in number, an online portal, and specific SCI/D case management services.

The grant will also allow increased and targeted outreach to the SCI/D community in affected areas and increase participation in, and coordination between, regional relief efforts.

In addition, United Spinal’s regional chapters impacted by the recent hurricanes and floods will receive funds to provide local hands-on assistance and resources and services toward rebuild efforts.

Micro-grants will also be made available to individuals (both United Spinal members and SCI/D community members at large) to close the “FEMA” gap—which includes funding for accessible housing, equipment, and general subsistence needs, the release continues.

As part of these efforts, United Spinal sent a delegation to Toa Baja, Puerto Rico on December 16 to provide disaster relief from Hurricane Maria to wheelchair users and other people with disabilities. This relief included distributing essential supplies and care items, including inverters to load wheelchairs; solar lamps; batteries; containers for loading gasoline; as well as other necessary medical equipment.

[Source(s): United Spinal Association, PR Newswire]