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Unmet Needs Roundtable Program overview

The mission of Unmet Needs Roundtables is to bring together donors and case work agencies to financially assist those impacted by a disaster, provide emergency assistance, and ensure victims' long-term recovery in cases when all other means of assistance are no longer available.

In the aftermath of a disaster, relief workers provide for victims' basic needs - as a best practice, they also begin to identify emerging unmet needs. Disaster recovery moves in stages from emergency relief, to short term recovery (up to six months), and finally to long term recovery (years). Unmet Needs Roundtables, commonly used in all federally declared disasters, are essential mechanisms for meeting the unmet basic human needs of disaster victims by providing cash assistance in emergencies or to enable long-term recovery.

Through a Memorandum of Understanding with the NYC Office of Emergency Management, NYDIS establishes and manages all Unmet Needs Roundtables in response to any disaster in the New York City area. NYDIS maintains a tax-exempt Unmet Needs Fund where corporations, foundations, and individuals can make donations to a managed fund that provides donors with grant distribution and usage reports. All Roundtables are managed in coordination with FEMA, NYC OEM, and the Human Services Council of New York-United Services Group.

Thousands of those impacted by 9/11 have had limited or no access to recovery assistance. In 2002, supported by FEMA and the leadership of Lutheran Disaster Response of New York, the NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable was established. As of July 2006, this Roundtable had distributed over $5 million in cash assistance and vouchers to meet the unmet material needs of victims and injured recovery workers for whom no other assistance is available.

Cover Program Profile

Unmet Needs Roundtable Profile

To download as PDF click here (size: 1,162kb)

Unmet Needs Roundtables Include:

A MODERATOR, who reaches out to all agencies assisting underserved disaster victims, provides orientation to caseworkers on how to present cases, recruits donors, schedules caseworker presentations, and moderates donor and caseworker review of each confidential case.

DONORS, both individuals and representatives of corporations and foundations, define their criteria for giving cash assistance or vouchers as broadly or specifically as they choose.

CASEWORKERS from a broad spectrum of provider agencies present cases on behalf of victims with unmet material needs ensuring economic, emotional, and spiritual recovery through all available resources.

AN ADVISORY COMMITTEE of representatives from donor and casework agencies offers guidance on emerging unmet needs, oversight of the Roundtable process, and support of the moderator's work.

RESOURCE EXPERTS, including an immigration lawyer and representatives of core relief agencies, provide information and resources to support the management of cases.

Service providers and clients may go to NYDIS’s online 9/11 Resources Page at for the latest information regarding mental health services, job development, training, how to find immigration and workers compensation legal aid, and more.

The NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable Client Inquiry Form is available online.


DONOR AGENCIES as of April 2008

American Red Cross—September 11 Liberty Fund

God’s Love Is Needed Now, Inc.

New York Disaster Interfaith Services

Orthodox Church in America



The Roundtable Advisory Committee is comprised of members representing donor and case management participants. Staff from the following agencies have served:

Episcopal Charities, Islamic Circle of North America-Relief, FEGS, Lutheran Disaster Response of New York, Safe Horizon, the Salvation Army of Greater New York, and UNITAS-St. Mark's Institute for Mental Health.


World Trade Center recovery workers and undocumented victims are among communities currently presenting substantial unmet needs at the Roundtable. If you or your company are interested in donating to the Unmet Needs Fund or supporting NYDIS' administration of the Roundtable, contact:

Tamara Smith, 9/11 Recovery Coordinator
at 212-669-6102 or