Red Cross here for now, but changes its focus as evacuees return home | PostIndependent.com
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Red Cross here for now, but changes its focus as evacuees return home

Lynn Burton

The Red Cross is winding down its temporary shelter operation at Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley Campus, but is gearing up to process fire related claims at Glenwood Springs High School.

“Right now, there’s no exit plan,” said Red Cross Service Center Manager Francisco Gonima. “We’ll stay open until we’ve met with all the families affected by the fire.”

The high school has served as the central information center for the Red Cross and other public and private agencies since last Sunday.

At the center’s busiest, dozens of evacuees waited in the school’s multi-purpose room for shuttle buses to take them to their homes to retrieve belongings.

Wednesday at noon, the shuttles were gone and a few cars were scattered in the parking lot. The only people in the school lobby were Red Cross workers in white vests preparing to process victims, an insurance claims adjuster, and two mental health professionals from Colorado West Regional Mental Health.

“It’s time to start helping people make a recovery,” Gonima said.

Gonima said two dozen volunteers from around the country are coming to Glenwood Springs to meet with families and individuals affected by the fire. “We have case workers who will assess their needs,” he said.

The case workers will determine clients’ pre-disaster status, and what it will take for them to return to their pre-disaster status.

After that, the Red Cross will issue monetary vouchers, and refer clients to other agencies, such as LIFT-UP, if necessary.

Up at Colorado Mountain College, hundreds of evacuees have spent the night since Saturday.

“They had 145 last night,” Gonima said Wednesday.

The shelter is still housing about 50 people, and will remain open until they can return to their homes or find other places to stay.

At the shelter’s busiest, a bulletin board was full of notes and messages from people trying to locate friends and loved ones. Yesterday, the board was nearly empty.

“There aren’t any missing persons,” Eshelman said. “Nobody’s not been found.”


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