Group to give evacuees new homes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Ironton residents may see approximately 100 new faces in town next week.

Unfortunately, they won't be people on vacation, but those taking refuge from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina.

The Lawrence County Community Action Organization has identified 65 nursing home beds and 30 units of housing that it has available in the area. Not only will they be donating that space to displaced residents of the New Orleans area, but volunteers be traveling to the flooded region to pick up evacuees.

Email newsletter signup

D.R. Gossett, executive director of the Lawrence County CAO, said the support has already been overwhelming. For instance, the services of the Greyhound buses that will be used to transport the residents are being donated.

"People have been tremendously generous already," Gossett said. "They've been very excited about what we're trying to do. Everybody wants to play a role."

Some nurses, EMTs and physicians have volunteered to travel to the New Orleans area with the CAO to help care for the victims of the hurricane.

Although the CAO is picking up the rent for the transplanted victims, the agency is looking for any financing or supplies for the people they can get their hands on.

"We're hoping that the community will donate the food, we're going to try to expand the soup kitchen at the city mission," Gossett said. "We're really relying on the generosity of Lawrence County residents."

Money and supplies can be donated to the Flood Relief Fund at the CAO's main office.

Gossett said he believes the CAO can support the refugees for a couple of months, and while he says it's not out of the question that some of them could become permanent residents, that's not really a consideration at this point.

Currently, the CAO is identifying the residents that will be relocated to the area. They will be leaving to begin the effort on Thursday.

In addition to the new effort, the CAO is also collecting supplies today at Central School to be donated to the hurricane's victims.

For more information, call the CAO at (740) 532-3534.