Nov. 4 workshop will aid hurricane evacuees

Hurricane Katrina and Rita evacuees now living in the Pierce County area can connect with free services and support at a one-day Evacuee Assistance Workshop in downtown Tacoma. The workshop at the Tacoma Rhodes Building, 949 Market St., will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Nov. 4.

Federal, state, county and other local public agencies will be on hand to help evacuees sign up for and access numerous services, including interim housing, health care, employment opportunities, food assistance, child care and school enrollment, and Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance.

Non-profit organizations, such as the Red Cross and Associated Ministries, will be on hand to provide assistance. The Emergency Management Division of the Washington Military Department is working with all organizations to coordinate the long-term response to the needs of evacuees residing in Washington.

Evacuees and those assisting them are reminded that they should continue to get updated information about social services and disaster aid by calling the toll-free hotline 1-800-941-2930. Volunteers staff the hotline from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

Nearly 1,800 evacuees had registered with FEMA using Washington state addresses. That represents between 4,400 and 5,300 individual evacuees since registration typically involves family groups of two or three persons. Hurricane evacuees are now in 35 of 39 Washington counties, with the largest concentration in the Puget Sound region.

King County has the largest number of current evacuee registrations with 761 families, followed by Pierce with 302; Snohomish, 135; Kitsap, 81; and Spokane, 79.