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Press Release
September 7th, 2005

Contact: Diane Thomas-Plunk

County Plans Ahead for Potential Katrina Evacuees

(Santa Ana, CA) – At the direction of Board Chairman Bill Campbell, a multi-agency task force has been meeting since last week to assess resources and develop preliminary plans to receive evacuees from Hurricane Katrina if Orange County is needed as a relocation site. Key agencies involved in the planning are Housing and Community Services (HCS), Social Services Agency, Health Care Agency and the Sheriff’s Department.

“Orange County stands ready to do our part,” said Campbell. “Although we don’t yet know if we will receive evacuees or the number who might arrive, I want the response to move with forethought, ease and compassion. I’m confident that the County and its partners are prepared.”

HCS and its Homeless Prevention Division are leaders in Orange County’s Continuum of Care System, a collaboration of public/private agencies serving the homeless. It is comprised of more than 100 shelters/transitional housing providers, hundreds of community based/faith based service providers such as food banks, soup kitchens, clothing closets, job placement agencies, mental health and health care providers, and other related agencies.

Info Link, another partner, is the designated 2-1-1 provider for Orange County. The 2-1-1 service is a round-the-clock, multi-lingual call center for linking people to health and human services. Through the 2-1-1 number, Info Link will act as a clearinghouse to gather information regarding people/agencies interested in helping hurricane survivors as well as in linking evacuees to available resources. In addition to 2-1-1, Info Link has a toll-free number that can also be used for Katrina survivors – 888-600-4357.

Another member of the collaborative, OperationOC, is launching a $2.6 million campaign to provide long-term transitional care for up to 100 displaced Hurricane Katrina families. OperationOC is led by Campbell, Sheriff Mike Carona, Jim Palmer of the Orange County Rescue Mission, Superintendent William Habermehl of the Orange County Department of Education, and Chancellor Raghu P. Mathur of the South Orange County Community College District. For more details, go to http://www.operationoc.org/