The American Red Cross has had shelters open in Louisiana to help people affected by the flooding for more than a month. 

The number of people staying in shelters has steadily declined as residents have moved into more suitable housing solutions, which is part of the normal process in recovery. The owners of many shelter facilities, and parish authorities, are also ready to begin to get back to normal business.

“The Red Cross continues to help residents affected by the widespread flooding by providing shelter, serving meals and distributing relief supplies,” said Joshua Joachim, chief executive of the Red Cross in Louisiana.

Red Cross shelters in the Capital Area will transition this week. The remaining shelters are located in Ascension, East Baton Rouge, and Livingston parishes. In collaboration with parish officials, the Red Cross has established the following shelter schedule:

·         Ascension Parish

            Lamar Dixon will close at the end of the business day on Friday, Sept. 16.

·         East Baton Rouge Parish

The River Center will close at the end of the business day Thursday, Sept. 15. Residents without confirmed plans to move to their next place will move to Celtic Studios (Stage 5).

            The shelter in Baker will be open until Sept. 30, if needed.

·         Livingston Parish

Killian, Lockhart, and The Way shelters will close at the end of the business day on Friday, Sept. 16.        

“The Red Cross opens shelters during an emergency to help people who need a safe place to stay,” Joachim said. “Emergency shelters typically aren’t intended to stay open for long periods of time — Many organizations involved in relief efforts must work together to help people find more suitable accommodations if their homes are left unlivable after a disaster.”

Some of the people staying in shelters who can’t return home due to flooding damage are being helped through federal disaster housing programs; others are being helped through state and community programs. 

The Red Cross urges people to apply to FEMA first for assistance.

Red Cross workers have been meeting with shelter residents to help determine their needs and the next step for their individual recovery. The Red Cross also is providing limited financial assistance to people who qualify. This assistance can help families begin their recovery by providing funds which can be used for such needs as an apartment deposit, to buy clothes or food, or to cover immediate transportation expenses.