Florida Cabinet Approves Statewide Emergency Shelter Plan

July 30, 2008

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist approved the Florida Cabinet’s 2008 statewide emergency shelter plan. Since 1999, state, federal and local agencies have created 994,369 shelter spaces, approximately 70 percent of the state’s shelter demand.

Florida can now provide shelter to 955,896 people in general public shelters and 38,500 in special needs shelters.

Every two years, the Division of Emergency Management updates Florida’s local and regional planning guide for the construction of new public schools, community colleges and university facilities to meet the Florida Department of Education’s public shelter design criteria. The five-year plan details requirements to establish safe public shelter spaces to serve Florida’s growing population and eliminate the state’s shelter deficit.

The 2008 plan highlights new capacity development through a combination of retrofitting existing schools and public facilities, and enhanced hurricane-resistant construction for new schools.

To date, 23 Florida counties now have a shelter surplus.

As Florida’s population continues to grow, it is estimated that from 2008 to 2013, nearly 800,000 new residents will reside in areas vulnerable to the effects of major hurricanes, with approximately 20 percent seeking safety in public shelters during hurricanes.

Source: Office of the Governor of Florida

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