Temporary shelter for those who must evacuate their homes for a hurricane.
Why is this program needed?
When a hurricane threatens Pinellas County, and an evacuation is ordered, residents living in evacuation areas have options.
They could go to a hotel/motel or evacuate out of town if they leave soon enough. The best choice is to evacuate to a friend or family’s home in a non-evacuation area of the county.
Unfortunately, many of our residents do not have any of these options. They will evacuate to a public shelter, where conditions are uncomfortable.
Providing someone the opportunity to stay in a home helps in two ways: It gives more residents the opportunity to shelter in a more comfortable environment, and it helps provide more space for those in the public shelters. But we need help.
What can my organization do to help?
Organizations ﬁrst need to realize that they have a unique leadership position in the community. Because of the sheer size of the task, local governments can only do so much. Employers, places of worship, civic organizations and community groups can set the example by having their own plan, and they can encourage the employees or members to have plans and act on them. Organizations can also sponsor a volunteer Host Homes program.
Keeping the host/guest matches within the organization takes away some of the fear associated with the thought of helping strangers. It allows the volunteer coordinators the freedom to run the program according to the needs of the participating organization.
In particular, faith organizations can reach out to their elderly and disabled members to make sure those members have safe shelter. A bonus is matching them with fellow members who can offer moral support and comfort during a scary and uncertain time. The program can also benefit pet owners who might otherwise stay home with their pets regardless of the danger.
Host homes is not a county program; it is a voluntary program for community organizations.
What are the steps for the Host Home program?
The basics of the program are:
For a copy of a Host Home Tool Kit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (727) 464-3800.
Please use the forms provided and feel free to modify them for your organization.
If you have questions, call Pinellas County Emergency Management us at (727) 464-3800.
Pinellas County Emergency Operations Center
Department of Emergency Management
During an emergency activation call the
County Information Center at (727) 464-4333.