This is an update mail from Catholic Charities of Idaho's Development Director Kristan Schlichte, who has been dispatched to Texas to work on helping evacuees get resettled. To me it shows a sense of order forming amidst the chaos, but still how much freelancing is going on out of necessity (dropping folks off in front of a non-profit agency for lack of a better plan, for example).
We are saying right now that we can accommodate individuals and families from 6 weeks to 6 months and beyond depending on their own self-reliance plans. Our Idaho contingent visited a shelter in Galveston this evening. It was much smaller and very calm compared to the Astrodome. They canceled plans for a Mass there today because of security issues. However, they allowed Bishop Fiorenza, a rabbi, an Imam and a Baptist minister to take ten minutes each to talk to he crowd. Greg Patin, our Catholic Charities Galveston/Houston contact who has been spending hours over there, said that he could feel a calm settle over the crowd as the faith leaders spoke. Some individuals have families, others don't. Right now the thought of leaving the gulf coast is overwhleming to many. However, in several days and weeks, they will realize their plight and be less fearful of taking a chance. Many are still in shock and unable to rationalize their situation. We know that after crisis mode comes post trauma. These folks need to be somewhere where they can get supportive services for themselves and their children. They do not know what is in store for them. Let me know how we can be of service to the Yakima CC office in the intake process. CC Houston has taken us in and is asking us to help to interivew individuals and families willing to re-locate for transitional housing. (Just make sure someone has done a home visit prior to placement. I know you already know that!) They are doing yeoman's work here. Today 5 busloads of Vietnamese people from Louisiana were dropped off in front of their office with no notice. Someone told the bus drivers in New Orleans to take them to Catholic Charities because "they would know how to help them!" It is CCUSA at its best. We can be so proud! I'll talk with you tomorrow.