Although there were rumors that as many as 2,000 Hurricane Katrina victims were coming to Cherokee, it is unlikely there will be any, according to Tom Deiker, superintendent of the Cherokee Mental Health Institute.
The Iowa Department of Human Services asked the state mental health institutes to identify the maximum number of people who could be immediately housed at the facilities. Space for a total of 400 was identified at the four MHIs in the state, including space for 134 at the MHI in Cherokee.
Deiker said that the housing would be in a variety of types of occupancy including single occupancy, double occupancy and space for families.
Deiker said the DHS would have provided emergency funds and food stamp availability for food stamps so that the MHI budget would not be burdened with the support costs for those housed at MHI. He said the only needed support service that might be difficult to provide would be transportation for shopping.
Deiker reported that as of Wednesday morning, no one in the affected area had taken up the offer from Iowa to shelter up to 5,000 people.
Deiker said that there might not be any hurricane victims come to Iowa and if they do, all would likely be housed in Des Moines.
Deiker said the MHI in Cherokee is standing by just in case.