February 7, 2020
(US Virgin Islands) Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner, Kimberley Causey- Gomez along with representatives from the American Red Cross, Department of Education, Department of Health, Office of the Governor – ADA Coordinator, VITEMA, FEMA, Virgin Islands Fire Services, and the Department of Sports, Parks, and Recreation conducted their first round of shelter inspections on St. Croix well in advance of hurricane season. Initial shelter inspections were conducted early this year in order to ensure timely identification of issues and solutions. St. Thomas and St. John inspections will occur within the next thirty days.
The Department of Human Services, along with VITEMA, and the Department of Health acts as a safety net to provide shelter to individuals and families that may not be able to shelter in place or find shelter at their local church or community center. “Our comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach allows for timely preparedness, robust public education, and execution of the plan”, explained Commissioner Gomez.
In the coming months, DHS will be communicating with faith-based communities and churches, local businesses and the not-for-profit community to identify and coalesce collective resources so that the Department can help advertise that information during hurricane season. “We want to be sure that not only physical structures and resources are in place but that people are armed with information and tools to make critical decisions during hurricane season,” said Causey-Gomez.