Human Services

Human Services

Disaster impacts vary in magnitude. Damage to personal property, homes, and lives can range from small events that are addressed at the local, county or tribal level to large events that require resources from the federal government. The Human Services Group supports the response and recovery process for individuals and businesses through six areas.

1)    Emergency Support Function (ESF) 6: Mass Care

2)    Voluntary Agency Liaison

3)    Private Sector Liaison

4)    Disability, and Access & Functional Needs Coordination

5)    Recovery’s Individual Assistance

6)    Federal Assistance


ESF 6: Mass Care

During times of disaster, Human Services serves as the lead coordinating entity for the ESF-6 Mass Care function of the State Emergency Response & Recovery Plan (SERRP).

When activated, ESF-6 works with other partners to ensure the following four items are addressed to benefit those who are impacted by the disaster:

  • Sheltering
  • Feeding
  • Emergency first aid at designated sites
  • Distribution of Emergency Relief Items


Voluntary Agency Liaison (VAL)

There are many organizations across Arizona and the Nation that stand ready to help and provide assistance to those who are impacted during and after disasters. These organizations are part of the Arizona Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Arizona VOAD) group. Arizona VOAD members help with sheltering, feeding, temporary assistance, home re-building, clean-up and much more before, during, and after disasters.

The VAL keeps the connections strong with the VOAD and other volunteer organizations so when the need arises, the VAL knows which organization has the necessary resources to help.


Private Sector Liaison (PSL)

Many corporations and businesses in Arizona are part of 16 various critical infrastructure sectors within the state or out of state. These sectors include but are not limited to energy, transportation, defense, healthcare, manufacturing, etc. 

The Private Sector Liaison cultivates and stewards relationships with these partners before, during and after disaster. The relationships help ensure minimal impact to their operations by maintaining open communication and an understanding of resources and support available for all parties involved. 

DEMA has incorporated businesses, corporations and enterprises that have a stake in protecting critical infrastructure and key resources into the SERRP. The private sector entities that meet the criteria of critical infrastructure sectors and their associates are encouraged to join Arizona's efforts in the mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery of incidents and events.

These groups are encouraged to join the Arizona Business Emergency Coordination Group (BECG), a virtual venue activated in times of crisis. The BECG facilitates the dissemination of information, determination of needs, and coordination of resources and efforts among the private sector during an emergency.

Most often, the BECG is staffed by a DEMA representative and those private sector partner(s) that are affected or impacted by the incident, and in concert with a State Emergency Operations Center activation. This allows those private sector partners a voice and open communication during an incident or event.

To participate in the BECG, please contact us and fill out the BECG membership request form.


Disability, Access & Functional Needs (AFN) Coordination

Human Services supports the development and implementation of disability integration into all disaster programs and processes by:  

  • Advocating for whole community planning with a greater focus on integrating individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs into all aspects of whole community emergency management;
  • Conducting community outreach by delivering briefings and presentations to emergency management professionals and the whole community which promoted inclusiveness;
  • Providing leadership on the State Access & Functional Needs Task Force comprised of disability stakeholder organizations, service agencies, community groups and emergency management professionals to improve resilience and emergency management outcomes. 
  • Click here to access the AFN Demographic Planning Tool. This tool provides emergency management with a breakdown of various disabilities and access and functional needs communities/populations by state and county.


Individual Assistance Program

The Individual Assistance Program (IA) seeks to assist individuals, households, and businesses to effectively recover following a disaster.  Since the State of Arizona’s Individual Assistance Program is not funded by State statute, we rely heavily on engaging the “whole community” through partnerships with volunteer, faith-based, private sector and non-governmental organizations to meet the unmet needs of survivors. Human Services staff coordinates resources in an attempt to fulfill the unmet needs of disaster survivors.  In most cases, this assistance will not cover all losses but may provide enough to start the survivor on the road to recovery.