Fairfax County Continues to Provide Assistance to Victims of Hurricane Katrina


Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 711, FAX 703-324-2010

Sept. 14, 2005

 

Fairfax County Continues to Provide
Assistance to Victims of Hurricane Katrina

Fairfax County human services staff are working on site at the American Red Cross local chapter office in Fairfax to help make the process as easy as possible for hurricane evacuees to apply for emergency assistance and other services, providing an initial “one-stop shop” to connect evacuees with various sources of assistance and information.

Evacuees also can come directly to county offices to apply for assistance, where they will be connected to various resources.

“All doors are open for evacuees seeking county services,” explained Juani Diaz, director of self-sufficiency and employment programs for the county’s Department of Family Services. “We are working closely with other Fairfax County agencies, the American Red Cross and other community resources to connect our new residents from the hurricane-affected area with the services they so urgently need.”

Evacuees needing additional information or people wishing to offer assistance may call the Hurricane Katrina hotline at 703-817-7771, TTY 711 or visit the Fairfax County Government Web site at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.

The county remains involved with Katrina assistance and committed to providing resources to those affected who have come to Fairfax County. In addition to agency responses, the county also has partnered with other Northern Virginia jurisdictions to provide a coordinated response from the region to the area affected by Hurricane Katrina. On Tuesday, Sept. 13, a Northern Virginia regional team was deployed to New Orleans, with an additional four deployed today to join that effort. Four of those 14 members are Fairfax County staff.

Below are additional details on how the county has helped and responded to Hurricane Katrina.

Family Services
To date, 185 hurricane evacuee families and/or individuals (representing 347 people – 240 adults and 107 children) have applied with the county’s Department of Family Services for assistance such as food stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Medicaid, employment assistance, and senior services. DFS staff is helping evacuees apply for “E-Medicaid,” the new emergency medical assistance program for hurricane evacuees who are here in Virginia. Most of the evacuees who have applied with DFS are staying with friends or relatives. Some have Red Cross vouchers and are staying in local hotels.

Fourteen evacuee children have enrolled in the School Age Child Care program. The Office for Children sent a letter to all child care providers and child care centers in the county asking that they inform OFC of any available space in their programs to accommodate evacuee families. So far, more than 30 child care providers and 20 child care centers have replied. OFC will serve as a clearinghouse for this information in the county.

Fire & Rescue
Since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department has provided several emergency resources to the affected hurricane area. They include:

  • 34 member Virginia Task Force I, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Urban Search and Rescue team, to Mississippi (seven-day deployment; returned Sept. 6).
  • Five members as part of a FEMA Incident Support Team.
  • Two members in support of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), as part of the United States Agency for International Development.
  • Several members providing operational staffing support at Headquarters, OFDA.
  • Two members providing humanitarian relief to affected firefighters and their families under the sponsorship of the International Association of Fire Fighters.
  • Three members assigned to the regional Incident Management Team providing command/control support in Mississippi under the direction of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.
  • Two members assigned in support of Headquarters, FEMA.
  • One communications specialist in support of FEMA.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department continues to also work closely with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management Agency in support of requests received from all affected disaster areas. In addition, VATF1 received an activation order from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday, Sept. 13, to assist with Hurricane Ophelia.

Health Department
The Health Department has provided the following services:

  • Provided immunizations to evacuees/survivors.
  • Conducted nursing home pre-screening on one evacuee/survivor.
  • Provided immunizations to State Troopers who are to be deployed.
  • Provided immunizations at the Government Center AEOC to the Regional Management Team for deployment to Louisiana.
  • Provided immunizations to volunteers going to the Gulf Coast.
  • Have 25 staff on standby at request of Virginia Department of Health to be deployed to Gulf Coast upon official notification; deployments will be staggered as environmental issues are first for attention (water/sewage), then health care will be addressed.
  • Provided all Medical Reserve Corps volunteers with instructions for connecting with National MRC office if interested in volunteering; five have completed the process this week.
  • Sharing information from the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services with hospitals regarding Medicaid coverage plans for evacuees.

Medical Reserve Corps
Volunteers from the Fairfax Medical Reserve Corps, a corps of medical and non-medical volunteers managed by the Fairfax County Health Department, currently are registering with the American Red Cross to assist Hurricane Katrina victims in the Gulf Coast region. To date, 11 volunteers have signed up since Sept. 7, when Red Cross deployment applications were made available to Fairfax Medical Reserve Corps members. Two volunteers will deploy to the Gulf Coast this week for a 14-day assignment.

Due to the extensive need for trained volunteers in the Gulf Coast region, the American Red Cross has partnered with the national Medical Reserve Corps office to extend Hurricane Katrina-related volunteer opportunities to MRC members. The Fairfax Medical Reserve Corps is an all-volunteer group of people from medical and non-medical backgrounds who stand ready to assist the Fairfax County Health Department in the event of a local public health emergency.

Housing & Community Development
The Department of Housing and Community Development is providing assistance to those families and individuals impacted by Hurricane Katrina who need assistance finding housing while here in Fairfax County. HCD is working with private landlords and the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority to identify vacant units in the county—either privately owned or FCRHA owned—that can be rented to guests to Fairfax from the Gulf Coast’s damaged areas. HCD also is providing vouchers to assist with rent, and the county, in partnership with the faith community, will be coordinating efforts for assistance with job placement, school for children, home furnishings and other necessities like groceries and clothing.

In addition, the Homeownership Resource Center, located at 3700 Pender Drive and associated with the county’s First-Time Homebuyer Program, is closed Sept. 9-23 to all regular homeownership activities. During this time, the center will serve as an operations center for HCD’s relocation efforts for those coming to the county from the Gulf Coast, and will only be open to those families and individuals. For more information, call 703-246-5087, TTY 711. The Resource Center will re-open on Monday, Sept. 26, for regular business.

Public Library
The library has extended services to victims of Hurricane Katrina who have been taken in by Fairfax County residents. Gulf Coast guests will be asked to use their hosts’ addresses when signing up for free library cards, since their home addresses may no longer be valid. Library staff will help displaced Gulf residents find the information they need to integrate into the Fairfax County community as quickly and easily as possible and those persons can also use library computers to e-mail friends and family and check the Internet for updates from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The library also offers free educational and entertaining events, activities and reading material to help ease the stress. Directions to the nearest library branch can be found on the library’s Web site at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library.

Public Affairs
The Office of Public Affairs created a Hurricane Katrina Web page for residents and those with resources, including ways to donate, etc.; and provided news and information updates via the Fairfax County Government Emergency Information Line (703-817-7771, TTY 711). Staff also is assisting evacuees who come to the Government Center lobby desk and directing them to the appropriate agencies for assistance.

Purchasing and Supply Management
The Department of Purchasing and Supply Management has provided support to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, assisting it in locating sources for emergency needs immediately after the storm passed through the Gulf Coast. Purchasing & Supply Management has a comprehensive network of strategic vendors identified specifically as emergency response resources. Contact with Mississippi procurement professionals operating out of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency office in Jackson took place through relationships developed with those colleagues through participation in the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing. Similar sourcing support and information was provided to procurement professionals working in Louisiana’s emergency operations center in Baton Rouge.

Systems Management for Human Services
Staff in Coordinated Services Planning is assisting hurricane evacuees when they call the intake line (703-222-0880; Espanol: 703-631-3366; TTY: 703-803-7914).

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To request this information in an alternate format, call the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 711

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