Honolulu officials are collaborating with emergency service providers and others to ensure Oahu’s homeless population is well-informed about hurricane shelters and shuttle service as back-to-back storms approach.
Teresa Gonsalves, director of Care Enabling Services of the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, said officials started informing the homeless along the Leeward Coast on Monday about hurricanes Iselle and Julio.
She praised the city for keeping service providers throughout the island informed with updates.
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I think it’s been well-organized and well-planned,” Gonsalves said.
Connie Mitchell, executive director of the Institute for Human Services, said providers throughout the island are engaged to assist the homeless, noting that the city held a conference call Wednesday with providers to relay details about the shelters. Mitchell said the providers are now coordinating services with one another and continuing to notify the homeless about the available sites.
Meanwhile, the city Department of Emergency Management announced the following list of 10 American Red Cross hurricane shelters that will open at 10 p.m. Thursday.
>> Campbell High School, 91-980 North Road, Ewa Beach
>> Kaimuki High School, 2705 Kaimuki Ave. (pet friendly)
>> Kaiser High School, 511 Lunalilo Home Road
>> McKinley High School, 1039 S. King St.
>> Castle High School, 45-386 Kaneohe Bay Drive
>> Mililani High School, 95-1200 Meheula Parkway
>> Pearl City High School, 2100 Hookiekie St. (pet friendly)
>> Waialua High and Intermediate School, 67-160 Farrington Highway (pet friendly)
>> Nanakuli High & Intermediate School, 89-980 Nanakuli Ave. (pet friendly)
>> BYU-Hawaii, 55-220 Kulanui Street, Laie (pet friendly)
Also starting at midnight, TheBus will begin limiting service to shuttling to hurricane shelters. City spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke said that both TheBus and Handi-Van will discontinue regular service Friday.
Maria Lutz, director of emergency services of the American Red Cross-Hawaii Chapter, recommended that people preparing to stay at hurricane shelters bring emergency supplies that will last for seven days. The supplies should include nonperishable food, toiletries, medicine, flashlight, and a gallon of water per person per day for drinking and hygienic needs.
“If the power goes down (at the shelters), we don’t know if the water service will be working,” Lutz said.
People are also advised to bring bedding. Only a small supply of cots will be reserved for those with special health needs. Lutz also recommended that people bring a radio to stay informed with the latest weather updates.
The shelters designated by the City and County of Honolulu should be a “refuge of last resort if you have absolutely nowhere else to go,” officials said in a news release.
Those who should evacuate include “residents in the coastal evacuation zones as shown in the yellow tabbed disaster preparedness section of your telephone directory.”
Also, residents living in older homes built before 1995 or on exposed ridgelines and anyone living in an area prone to or with a history of flooding should evacuate, the city said.
Evacuees should bring disaster supplies with them to the shelter.
Residents bringing pets to designated pet-friendly shelters will need to provide food and water for their pet, a pet carrier/cage for each pet that is large enough for the animal to turn around in, and cleaning supplies.
“If you live in a home built after 1995 to current hurricane standards and you are not located in a coastal evacuation or flood zone, you should consider sheltering in place in an interior room on a lower floor without windows,” the city said.
Special evacuation shuttles will begin operating at 10 p.m. Thursday to serve the designated shelter locations. TheBus will also provide free transportation to shelters.
Special buses will display an “evacuation” sign.
Riders need only flag a bus down anywhere along the route they are traveling and they will be taken to the nearest evacuation shelter. Riders will be allowed to bring one bag and pets as long as they are on a leash or in a pet crate or carrier.
For more information about evacuation bus service offered by TheBus, visit www.thebus.org.