October 28th, 2008 at 3:54 pm
More than a month after Hurricane Ike came onto the Texas shore as a Category 2 storm, hundreds of Galveston residents still are searching for a place to call home.
At the request of Galveston County Judge James Yarbrough, the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management tapped Baptist Child & Family Services to establish a state shelter as a temporary home for more than 240 individuals and families to stay as they transition to more permanent residence.
“Officials continue working diligently to help those impacted by Hurricane Ike get back on their feet and begin rebuilding their lives,” said BCFS President/CEO and Galveston Unified Command Chief Kevin Dinnin. “It is our goal to have each person placed as soon as possible in order to close the Unified Shelter no later than November 10.”
Dinnin added, “People are not supposed to live in shelters. The Galveston County Unified Command will do everything possible to assist shelter guests secure transitional or permanent housing.”
The Galveston Unified Command Shelter opened on the island Oct.26, equipped with an around-the-clock operational mobile medical unit and nursing staff, catering services offering hot meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner and laundry facilities. School buses are also taking students to and from school daily.
“The shelter is a temporary home, but it’s a home nonetheless,” said Asennet Segura, Galveston Unified Command Shelter director. “We work hard to make sure guests are comfortable while they are in our care so they can focus on what is really important: getting their lives put back together.”
FEMA representatives and case managers are working one-on-one with displaced residents, locating a family member, apartment or other living arrangements that will meet the family’s needs.
BCFS established a unified command to assume shelter operations in Galveston County as a part of a public/private partnership with the State of Texas. BCFS is the principal medical special needs shelter provider for the state during disasters and most recently provided incident command and management for the Texas Department of State Health Services element of Texas Task Force Ike. The state also contracts with BCFS to provide emergency management training for sheltering populations to local municipalities throughout Texas.