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Pre-Disaster Tips: Planning for the Homeless Population


As one of the most vulnerable populations in disaster response and recovery, a community’s homeless population cannot be overlooked in disaster planning. June Gin, Veterans Emergency Evaluation Center (VEMEC) Research Health Scientist, recommends that stakeholders involved in the disaster planning process coordinate and collaborate with homeless service organizations during planning.

If your community doesn’t have a plan for addressing the homeless population’s disaster needs, Gin’s advice and the VEMEC toolkit can serve as a starting point to support local stakeholders involved in the disaster planning process.

Include homeless service providers in disaster planning, response and recovery.

  • Include representatives from local homeless service providers and health care providers that assist homeless populations in disaster relief, emergency management and public health preparedness efforts.
  • Clearly articulate the role of leading homeless service providers in disaster response and recovery within local government contracts and emergency plans. This will ensure that they can be eligible for reimbursement following disasters.

Assist homeless service providers with developing their own disaster plans.

  • Provide assistance and support to non-profit community-based organizations that work with homeless populations to create disaster preparedness plans and prevent disruption of their service operations.
  • Encourage organizations that work with homeless populations to learn the Incident Command System and create their own disaster preparedness/continuity of operations plans to avoid disaster-caused service disruptions.

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