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Stamford High Shelter Prepares For the Worst [Update, Photos]

Local and state aid organizations form a united front at SHS to protect Stamford residents from Hurricane Irene.

Sunday, 4:30 p.m.

Operations haven't slowed down too much at the Stamford High shelter, as more people are coming in despite the conclusion of the storm.

"Some people are leaving as the storm ends, and we also have new guests," one volunteer said. According to volunteers at the Stamford High emergency shelter, individuals without power in their homes are coming to the shelter.

Many of the city's homeless that sheltered themselves from Sunday morning's rain and heavy winds are still at SHS.

"It's been interesting," Chicago visitor Teresa Manchester said.

Saturday, 10:15 p.m.

City officials evaluate shelter operations within Stamford High as more of Stamford's homeless are delivered to SHS from area homeless shelters.

"I'm checking out several venues in the city," Director of Operations Ernie Orgera said.

Orgera, who is part of Mayor Michael Pavia's counsel on how to best prepare for Hurricane Irene, including the director of health, fire chief and the police chief, stated that he just left a meeting from Pavia's emergency command center and would be going back at 12 a.m.

"I'll be there all night," Orgera said.

Meanwhile, nearly twenty of the city's homeless have come to SHS from homeless shelters such as Laurel House.

More groups have volunteered their aid at SHS, to include the Stamford Amateur Radio Group.

At this time, residents are evacuating flood-risk areas, while others are preparing for winds exceeding 75 mph.

The volunteers of SHS cannot predict at this time how many clients they will have by early Sunday.

Saturday, 7:15 p.m.

Several local and state organizations have been active in preparing Stamford High School, the only Stamford emergency shelter at this time, to prepare for whatever Hurricane Irene can dish out.

"We're here for the duration," Red Cross volunteer supervisor Frank Cassella said to the other volunteers during a meeting with his crew of nearly two dozen volunteers.

There will be shift changes as the night goes on, but volunteers from the Red Cross, the Department of Health, The Salvation Army, and Stamford's Backyard Humanitarian will be here until Hurricane Irene, currently classed as a Category I storm, passes.

"The Salvation Army is cooking," Backyard Humanitarian founder and Red Cross volunteer Angela Malizia said. "It's a Red Cross shelter supported by different organizations in the community, so it's a team effort."

As of 6:45 p.m., the volunteer supervisors counted approximately eight "clients", as the Red Cross calls those sheltered at Stamford High School, and at least one is here due to Mayor Pavia's evacuation order.

Another of the eight refugees, Teresa Manchester of Chicago, is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"I've been having car trouble, and I got it fixed before the storm, but not in time to get out," Manchester said. "I was here visiting my grandmother.

Stamford High School can hold 120 people before a new shelter must be opened, Frank Cassella said during a meeting with his volunteer staff.

Stamford Patch is currently covering Hurricane Irene developments from Stamford High School. Shelter information will be updated as it's made available.

Kristen August 28, 2011 at 03:25 PM
Fortunately I have not had to evacuate my house, but I'd like to thank all of the amazing volunteers that make it possible for those in need to have a safe place to stay!
Linda MacDonald August 29, 2011 at 11:38 PM
How can you help some elderly people and disabled people can't get out and running out of food also cant cook due to electric stoves and no phones
Linda MacDonald August 29, 2011 at 11:39 PM
How can you help some elderly people and disabled people can't get out and running out of food also cant cook due to electric stoves and no phones Willard Manor and 33 Vine Road Independent Nursing Home
rob Reiner October 29, 2012 at 01:35 PM
How about a list of shelters in Stamford?

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