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Disaster Preparedness in Homeless Residential Organizations in Los Angeles County: Identifying Needs, Assessing Gaps

Gin JL, Kranke D, Saia R, Dobalian A. Nat. Hazards Rev. 2015. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)NH.1527=6996.0000208.

Community-based organizations (CBOs) are essential to supporting homeless populations during disasters, yet little is known about their preparedness and ability to support their vulnerable clients. This qualitative study evaluated the perceptions of Los Angeles nonprofit homeless residential service providers regarding the likely impacts of a disaster on their clients and operations, the barriers they face in disaster planning, and their suggested solutions to facilitate preparedness within their sector. Twelve semi-structured interviews were conducted with executive staff and emergency planners from six organizations serving people experiencing homelessness. Respondents reported significant barriers to both post-disaster services and collaboration with emergency management. They indicated both a need for and interest in technical assistance and training to develop their disaster capabilities. These concerns suggest that a multisector effort, including homeless-service organizations, their funders, and emergency managers, is needed to strengthen the resilience of safety-net CBOs serving homeless populations. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)NH.1527-6996.0000208. This work is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Keywords: Disasters; Residential organizations; Disaster planning; Preparedness; Homeless persons; Emergency management;Vulnerable populations.