Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Virginia Beach has a plan for its homeless community during Hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian. (Southside Daily/Courtesy of NOAA)
Hurricane Dorian. (Southside Daily/Courtesy of NOAA)

VIRGINIA BEACH — As residents continue to ride out the effects of Hurricane Dorian, some are evacuating to local shelters that opened Thursday night.

As of about 10:50 a.m. Friday, 33 people from the homeless community sought shelter at the city’s Housing Resource Center where they’ll have access to food, beds, and showers.

But city officials said the center can only accept about seven more before it reaches its 40 person capacity.

Ruth Hill, Housing Program administrator at the city’s Homeless Services Division, said the city has a plan should the Housing Resource Center reach capacity.

“The plan is if there are others who are seeking shelter, the city will work a transport plan to get them to an alternate site at Kellam High School,” she said.

Kellam High School is one of two shelters city officials announced would open to residents, and second to the Housing Resource Center, is ideal for those facing homelessness with its medical capabilities.

“We have the school nurse on-site just as a precaution,” said a spokeswoman for the city.

With only about 9 residents and one pet at the Kellam High shelter, and a max capacity of 1,200, Hill said she’s confident it’ll be ready to receive any overflow from the Housing Resource Center should they need to.

Old Donation School, also known as  Ed E. Brickell Academy, was the second shelter opened as Hurricane Dorian’s threat loomed — its max capacity is 600.

Hill said city officials will make the call on, or about, Saturday morning depending on the storm’s progression to determine when the shelters will close.

RELATED STORY: VB officials declare mandatory evacuation for Sandbridge, tell residents to take Dorian seriously

City leaders ordered a mandatory evacuation for residents in the Sandbridge area Thursday and recommended evacuations for those in Zone A or in areas typically impacted by tropical storms with strong Northeast winds, or “Nor’easters.”

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for Virginia Beach Friday morning and said “storm surge inundation is expected” Friday afternoon.

To stay informed on the most recent updates from the city, click here or to receive alerts on your mobile device text “VBAlert” to 67283. 

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