Hurricane Ida did more than leave a wake of destruction amidst severe flooding, infrastructure breakdowns, and region-wide power outages to Southern Louisianians—Hurricane Ida left hundreds of Louisiana neighbors without a home and a need for shelter.
Hurricane Ida response & recovery: Supporting every way possible
Shreveport VA supports displaced Veterans
The City of Shreveport and the City of Monroe have activated significant shelter locations. They are identifying the need to open more shelters if occupancy levels reach levels that exceed bed limits. Among the survivors of Hurricane Ida are people of all ages, including infants. However, these populations have a distinct group among the masses. Veterans who have served their country make up a segment of the evacuees, and the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center in Shreveport has deployed teams to each shelter location.
VA employees from the business office, Health Care for Homeless Veterans, and the Vet Center deployed to shelters in Shreveport and Monroe following Hurricane Ida.
Vietnam Veteran Paul Gratt arrived at the Shreveport shelter, where he was greeted by Shreveport staff. This U.S. Army Veteran was grateful for the warm reception so far from his home in Lafayette. “The VA staff got me fixed up with a cot that supports my back better. So far, everything has been fine; it’s quiet, cool and everyone is conscientious.”
So Far So Good
“I did not expect to talk to someone from the VA,” said Donald Chauvin, U.S. Army Veteran who arrived from Houma, Louisiana, on Aug. 28. “Being able to connect is good because we are not sure when we can return, but so far, so good,” Chauvin added.
A majority of the evacuees seemed to be from Houma on this day. More evacuees are expected over the next few days or longer.
Grin and Bear It
“I’m grateful to know I can speak to someone about medical issues,”noted Harry Rouyer, +from Houma. “The situation is bearable, but I would like to be home,” said the U.S. Army Veteran. He added, “It’s good you guys from Shreveport are here.”
Meeting Patient Needs
“For the most part, things have been OK,” mentioned Dwayne Detillier, a U.S. Navy Veteran. “I’ve started a discussion about medical appointments at the [Monroe] clinic.”
“From the moment we heard shelters were opening, we had staff on the ground in Shreveport and Monroe,” explained Mike Smith, peer support specialist with the Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) program. “HCHV is tracking each Veteran we identify to ensure they know we are here for health care needs, counseling, clothing, or just answer questions.”
While response and recovery efforts continue, the Shreveport VA will support Veterans who evacuated from Hurricane Ida’s path. The Shreveport VA staff are available at the shelters to provide mental health counseling, VA enrollment to address health care requirements, and other needs for Veterans and families in some cases.