Disaster Relief

How Midtown Answered FEMA’s Call

Midtown routinely helped GDIT deliver Hurricane Disaster Relief support throughout the United States for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). We provided FEMA with Call Center services in 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2021 helping millions of Americans recover from several devastating hurricanes.

Midtown’s engagement governance model is built to ensure a high level of service, proactively mitigate the risk of attrition, and provides end-to-end coverage from Midtown’s senior management to the onsite contact center employees. Governance activities that Midtown will follow includes:

  • Consistent reporting between Midtown and GDIT. We can comply with all reporting demands.
  • Development of communications plan for contact center employees that sets a high bar for interactions with the public and encourages internal collaboration.
  • Monitoring of contact center employees by Midtown to provide coaching and mitigate the risk of attrition. Midtown focuses on creating personal relationships so that employees respond to positive reinforcement—not punitive measures.

Midtown’s pool of Tier 1 and Tier 2 Call Center Agents are skilled in providing courteous customer service, as well as the empathy necessary to perform these crucial helpline services. In addition, our Project Managers are proficient in supervising call center staff both onsite and remotely, while capturing metrics to provide daily, weekly, and monthly reports regarding call volumes and requests for services.

From facilitating access to food and supplies, to filing claims to rebuild homes and businesses, our teams are experienced in delivering sensitive and authoritative communication to callers navigating a crisis.

2021 FEMA
SNOWSTORM SUPPORT
We staffed remote call centers with over 400 positions
and took over 75,000 calls.

In 2021 we provided remote Call Center assistance from Washington, DC; Waco, TX; and Atlanta, GA— per guidelines developed for COVID-19. A deadly and unprecedented 7-day snowstorm affected people across Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, causing over $130 billion worth of damage.

Our remote agents responded to inbound calls for assistance related to flooding, fires, and other property damage related to the power outages, bursting pipes, and other chaos caused by below freezing temperatures during the week-long storm that February.

We set up our Project Management Office, including Program Managers and Supervisors, in just over a week. We provided fully screened candidates, including adjudication and onboarding, in just 3 days.

Midtown’s remote agents completed FEMA’s 5-day security training and 1-day certification process to begin answering calls just one week after project kick-off.

We provided team of 400 skilled customer service representatives that was 50 percent bilingual in Spanish and English. We answered over 75,000 calls each day from February through April. This 3-month project ran 7 days a week, from 6:30 am to 11:00 pm EST.

2021 FEMA
COVID-19 FUNERAL SUPPORT
We staffed remote call centers with over 850 positions
and took over 447,000 calls.

While supporting FEMA’s Snowstorm Call Center project, we began simultaneously ramping up another call center for FEMA in February of 2021, we provided remote Call Center assistance from Washington, DC; Waco, TX; and Atlanta, GA — per guidelines developed for COVID-19. In the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, FEMA began offering financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020. At the start of the project, COVID-19 was already responsible over 592,000 deaths in the United States.

Gathering applications for funds made available by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, our remote agents manage inbound and outbound calls to help callers complete their applications.

Helping individuals navigate unique challenges during this particularly devasting time necessitates a level of empathy incomparable to any other call center efforts Midtown has provided in the past.

Until now, Midtown had partnered with FEMA to offer relief from natural disasters, providing call center assistance to those in need of rebuilding homes and businesses.

Not only does this project require exceptional patience and compassion, but the scale is much larger. Typically, a natural disaster is concentrated geographically. The pandemic is a national crisis affecting the entire country. FEMA received over 174,000 applications in the first month.

Once again, we set up our Project Management Office, including several Program Managers and Supervisors, in just over a week.
We submitted hundreds of candidates, including adjudication and onboarding, in just 3 days. Our agents completed FEMA’s 5-day security training and 1-day certification process, answering calls just one week after project kick-off.

While FEMA partnered with several staffing agencies to meet the estimated demand, Midtown provided team of 852 skilled customer service representatives (the most of any staffing partner on project). 25 percent of our agents were bilingual in Spanish and English.

The project officially launched in April and took 16,000 registrations on the first day.

Still currently running, the call center operates Monday through Friday, from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm EST and has received over 447,000 calls in the first month.

2020 FEMA
HURRICANE SUPPORT
We staffed remote call centers with over 140 positions
and took over 40,000 calls.

In 2020 Midtown provided Call Center assistance remotely from Washington, DC; Waco, Texas; and Atlanta, Georgia— per the safety guidelines developed for COVID-19. This year not only saw the onset of the global pandemic, but one of the costliest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record. In fact, 2020 encountered so much hurricane activity, it exhausted the regular list of storm names. A total of 12 storms hit the continental United States in 2020, including five that came ashore in Louisiana.

Our remote agents responded to calls related to Hurricanes Hanna, Isaias, Marco, Sally, Delta, Zeta, and Laura. Causing over $60 billion worth of damage, this exceptional hurricane season affected people across Louisiana, Texas, the Carolinas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida.

Midtown completed FEMA’s 5-day security training and 1-day certification process to begin answering calls just one week after the project kick-off. Using our past FEMA call center experience, we were able to set up our Project Management Office, including Program Managers and Supervisors, in record time.

Midtown submitted 180 candidates for adjudication over a weekend and fully onboarded 140 agents just a few days later.

Through October and November, Midtown successfully provided a team of 140 skilled customer service representatives that were 50 percent bilingual in Spanish and English. This 2-month project ran 7 days a week, from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm EST, and we answered over 40,000 calls that helped connect people to hurricane disaster relief.

2018 FEMA
HURRICANE SUPPORT
We staffed two call centers with over 315 positions
and took over 118,000 calls.

In 2018 we provided a set of FEMA call centers in Atlanta, Georgia and Waco, Texas, to field calls related to Hurricane Florence. This powerful and lengthy storm caused over $16.7 billion worth of damage in the Carolinas, primarily as a result of flooding.

Recruiting second team of call center resources, we identified nearly 1,000 candidates and had over 900 finger-printed in just a few days. We fingerprinted 423 resources in Atlanta and 533 in Waco. More than half of those successfully passed a background check, with 566 adjudicated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) strictest security standards. completed FEMA’s 4-day security training and began answering calls just 2 weeks after the project kick-off.

Using our past FEMA call center experience, we were able to set up our project management office in half the time. With 186 resources in Waco and 132 in Atlanta, Midtown successfully provided another team of skilled customer service representatives that were 50 percent bilingual in Spanish and English. This 3-month project ran 7 days a week, from 6:30 am to 11:30 pm EST, and we answered over 118,000 calls that helped connect people to hurricane disaster relief.

2017 FEMA
HURRICANE SUPPORT
We staffed two call centers with over 280 positions
and took over 200,000 calls.

In 2017, we provided two call centers in Waco, Texas and Santa Ana, California to field calls related to Hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Harvey. This deadly cluster of storms affected people across the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Florida and Georgia. With our call center services, we were able to help FEMA provide victims with grants for basic repairs, temporary shelter, and assistance building a recovery plan.

After successfully recruiting a vast pool of candidates that were 100 percent bilingual in Spanish and English, we completed fingerprinting in less than a week. We fingerprinted 400 people in Santa Ana in 4 days. In Waco, we fingerprinted 250 people in just 3 days.

With 145 resources answering calls in our Waco location and an additional 138 resources serving Santa Ana, Midtown’s ramp-up, from recruitment to fingerprinting, took just 2 weeks. The entire project management office, including two program managers able to schedule daily coverage, was stood up in under a month.

From September to April, we provided helpline and registration assistance. Both locations ran from 6:30 am to 11:30 pm EST, 7 days a week. Our hurricane disaster relief program answered more than one million calls over this 8-month project.

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