According to the 2013 U.S. Census Bureau, one out of every five Americans has a disability. This population may require functional needs support services, also called FNSS, prior to, during, and following a disaster.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s definition,
Access and functional needs are those individuals requiring functional needs support. They may have physical, sensory, mental health, cognitive, and intellectual needs that affect their ability to function independently, especially in the aftermath of disasters. Functional Needs Support Services are services that enable individuals to maintain their usual level of independence in a general population shelter.
It’s The Law
To support these needs, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Title II, applicable to all government-provided services, requires jurisdictions to incorporate disability laws, regulations, and guidance into programs, policies, and procedures through reasonable accommodations. Additional state, local, and federal laws, policies, and guidance further bolster the requirements of Title II.
The steps to compliance are complex, and involve understanding who within your community may require functional needs support services; identifying their potential needs; understanding the resources available to your specific situation; and providing training. The process is constant and always evolving as variables — and sometimes the regulations — change.
We Have Experience
Hagerty has experience in successfully supporting jurisdictions with these steps to provide effective solutions for functional needs support services. Read more about our work in functional needs support services here and here. We can provide assistance and guidance to your organization, too.