Red Cross Closes Evacuation Center, Responds to Resident's Concerns
Update by edhat staff
11:30 a.m., January 18, 2018
The American Red Cross of the Pacific Coast is explaining why the evacuation center for Montecito mudslide victims was shut down early Thursday morning.
According to spokesperson Jessica Piffero, the decision to close the evacuation center at San Marcos High School was determined by multiple community organizations. "It's normal, these centers are meant to be temporary, short-term, and it's natural to transition to recovery," said Piffero.
She explained that every person inside the shelter was aware of this transition, although they did not have an exact date and time of the transition until Wednesday, each person met with caseworkers to determine an individualized recovery plan, which is customized to determine that specific person's needs.
"I understand the community is in a difficult place, we've been through a lot, and the Red Cross has the absolute best interest of the community," said Piffero. "We would never throw anyone on the street, we've provided all the necessary resources. It's best not to jump to conclusions."
When edhat asked if there was a specific incident regarding the closure of the center and possible disturbances by transients, Piffero stated she can't speak to specifics because of safety reasons and client confidentiality. "It's typical to see 'pre-disaster homeless' in situations like this, but disasters do not discriminate," said Piffero emphasizing that anyone who comes to the Red Cross will be served and helped.
Edhat readers have questioned the physical donations of clothing, food, supplies made to the Red Cross being taken to thrift stores to be sold for a profit. When asked about this Piffero explained that the local Red Cross does not have the resources to individually sort, clean, and distribute these types of items. Instead, they've partnered with other community organizations to aid in this process. Red Cross has joined with Alpha Thrift Store who will process specific items and will issue vouchers back to the Red Cross that can be given to victims who are able to access these items.
The Red Cross thanks everyone for their donations and urges people to continue donating items to the local Foodbank, Unity Shoppe, and Salvation Army as those items will reach those who are displaced.
By an edhat reader
7:41 a.m., January 18, 2018
At 6:00 a.m. Thursday, the Red Cross surreptitiously kicked out all of their evacuees without a cause or a reason at San Marcos High School.
There have been rumors about some type of disturbance caused by a transient, but that hasn't been confirmed by the Red Cross as they're not giving an explanation. A Sheriff's Deputy was on the scene the morning assisting with kicking out the evacuees.
During KEYT's live morning interview, they were on the scene and a woman who worked for the Red Cross said that "you choose to be homeless." What is the real story? What's up Red Cross? We need answers.