Fifty-four of the 68 participants for whom Options provides 24/7 support are sheltering with the nonprofit agency, said President and CEO Carrie Mercke.
The other 14 participants are starting to come back to the agency after being with family during hurricane landfall, she said.
“The Options Team is doing a fantastic job ensuring everyone is safe and comfortable,” she said. “There are over 80 people in four locations (Safe Haven and three community homes) that Options is using as storm shelters.
Caregivers and management staff are busy providing direct care as well as health care monitoring, food preparation, sanitization, laundry, and activities, she said.
“We are in Day 11 of Hurricane Ida and all four locations are still operating without electricity,” Mercke said.
“While we have not had any serious property damage, we have many hurricane-related expenses ... and the greatest expense is always the cost of paying our good and dedicated staff. During Hurricane Ida we need additional staff and caregivers. We need help to cover the cost of additional staff and overtime pay.
“We have four natural gas generators, and keeping them running has been a great challenge. The La Casa generator is old and has issues. The main office generator at Options Safe Haven had a belt break which required two emergency callouts to our generator contractor. We have had to replace parts and service the generators every few days since Hurricane Ida tore down the power lines. We need help to cover the cost of operating and servicing these generators that are providing power to the shelters.
“We are continuing to purchase food and supplies while we are sheltering everyone. When we are no longer using our facilities as storm shelters we will need to re-stock our emergency food, water and supplies. We maintain a seven-day supply of food, water and supplies for 100 people so we are prepare for any emergency. We need help to cover these costs.
“The Learning Garden greenhouses will need the Visqueen and shade cloth replaced and other repairs on all 3 greenhouses,” she said.
Mercke said Options will greatly appreciate any assistance. She can be reached at 985-634-7769.