The shelter at Celtic Media Centre is expected to close by the end of the week once all of the flood victims staying there move to the Baton Rouge River Center, which will likely stay open as long as it's needed, a state official said Monday.
The number of flood victims staying in shelters across the region is about half of what it was last week, going from 4,857 on Aug. 15 to 2,817 Monday as evacuees trickle out after they find temporary homes with family members and friends. Other evacuees, though, are still sleeping on cots alongside hundreds of strangers, unsure of where to go next.
Amid the cots, canines and cats that cluttered a sound stage Monday at Celtic Media Centre, …
State and Red Cross workers expect that by the end of the week, the people staying at Celtic Media Centre will all be moved into the Baton Rouge River Center. As of Monday morning, 433 people were staying at Celtic, where volunteers transformed warehouse-like sound stages into a living space for thousands of evacuees.
But the number of Celtic evacuees who will make the move to River Center is probably less than the 433 there now as more and more people find long term housing elsewhere, said Terri Ricks, Department of Children and Family Services deputy secretary.
The River Center had 865 evacuees staying there as of Monday morning.
Ricks said the moving process began Monday with evacuees at Celtic who have vehicles moving to River Center. By Wednesday, transportation assistance will be provided to move people to River Center.
The last group of people scheduled to be moved are families with children, who were to move on Friday. The reason the plan called for the end of the week move was to give children a chance to finish out the week at school without having to worry about adjusting to life in a new shelter, Ricks said. But late Monday, East Baton Rouge school district officials announced they were delaying the opening of school until Sept. 6. It was unclear whether that would impact the shelter's moving schedule.
Steve Parrill, assistant superintendent for Livingston Parish public schools, said he and ot…
"We're very concerned with wanting to make sure that the people who have found community within both of those spaces have the time to find comfort in their new space, which is why we're not intending to move all of them at the same time," Ricks said.
Caseworkers from the agency are meeting with evacuees to help them make plans for their future, Ricks said.
Help is on the way, at least temporarily, for people displaced by floods who are seeking hou…
FEMA has a program in place to pay for hotel rooms on a 30-day basis for those who lost their homes and have registered with the agency.
The hotel assistance is only available to those who were displaced by the floods and are now living in shelters, cars, hotels, motels or their place of employment, and they should have received a phone call from FEMA telling them about the process.
Ricks said she hopes the majority of people in shelters will be eligible for FEMA programs or find housing with family or friends. But she said shelters will stay open as long as there is a need for them, and that smaller shelters may still take over once fewer people need a place to stay.
"The large scale shelter is needed as long as there's a large population," Ricks said.
The medical special needs facility at LSU had 92 evacuees living there as of Monday while the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales had 381 people.
People interested in volunteering at shelters should go through the American Red Cross' volunteer training and registration process, which they can complete online, Ricks said. In addition, people should not bring donations to the shelters, Ricks said, adding that they should be taken to donation centers in the community.
If shelters need a particular item, they will request it from the donation centers, Ricks said.
It's the most exclusive hair salon in Baton Rouge at the moment but you probably don't want …
"It's better that way so that we're not having to manage donations on top of meeting the needs of survivors that are in a shelters," she said.
She also discouraged people from buying items to donate to shelters, and said they are better off making cash donations to the organizations running shelters like the American Red Cross or to groups collecting money for flood victims like the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.